OmniVision's Kodak Moment

Shares surge 9% as acquisition chatter picks up.
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OmniVision (OVTI) shares jumped 9% on speculation that Eastman Kodak (EK) may be interested in an acquisition.

Rumors started circulating a week ago that the fading Rochester, N.Y., film giant has been talking with the camera-chip maker. Observers say Kodak's attempt to realign itself as a big player in the digital camera industry fits with OmniVision's need to find a partner as competition intensifies.

With its big growth quarters behind it, OmiVision has been suffering from margin erosion and revenue declines. Earlier this month, the company cut guidance for the current quarter as prices fall and costs rise.

Analysts on the March 1 earnings call asked OmniVision's executives if the company was in the hunt for a merger deal. The executives were mum on the topic.

"The longer-term strategy of the company is always, of course, a question that management is concerned about. When we have something to talk about, we will talk about it. But until then, I think it would be more appropriate for us to not comment," CFO Peter Leigh said at the time.

OmniVision sells digital image sensors, basically camera-on-a-chip technology that is built into mobile phones.

OmniVision shares were up 98 cents to $13.05 at midday. Kodak, which wasn't immediately available for comment, was down a penny to $23.72.