Apple's rumored plan to buy Israeli storage maker Anobit would make perfect sense.



CUPERTINO, Calif. (TheStreet) -- Apple's(:AAPL) rumored plan to buy Israeli storage maker Anobit would make perfect sense, boosting its Flash credentials and extending control of its supplier ecosystem.

Israeli Web site Calcalist reports that Apple is in "advanced discussions" to buy Anobit for between $400 million and $500 million, according to Reuters, which notes Anobit's chip technology already features on the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.

Tim Cook, Apple's CEO

Neither Apple not Anobit has yet responded to TheStreet's request for comment on this story, although experts say that a deal would be good news for the iPhone maker. ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall, for example, says that Anobit's key asset is its embedded flash controller technology, which competes against Marvell(:MRVL) and LSI(:LSI).

"If true, this deal would make strategic sense to us considering Apple's philosophy of vertical integration and current use of Anobit's technology," explained Marshall, pointing to the company's $278 million acquisition of P.A. Semi in 2008.

Anobit, which counts Korean giant Samsung as a customer, touts its Memory Signal Processing (MSP) technology as a way to boost the performance of Flash storage. In August, Anobit announced that it had already shipped more than 20 million of the chips in 2011.

"Anobit may provide meaningful long-term competitive advantages," explained Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, in a note released on Monday. "Apple likely sees flash memory performance and speed as crucial to user experience in the post-PC era."

With Apple expected to launch its iPhone 5 and iPad 3 during the coming year, the company may indeed be looking to boost its storage story via Anobit's chips.

By owning key component suppliers, Apple also can exert a greater degree of control over its supply chain. This, in turn, reduces the risk that new versions of gadgets such as the iPhone will be impacted by supply constraints.

Famed for his supply chain expertise, there has already been speculation that new Apple CEO Tim Cook will make the company's supplier ecosystem a priority. Cook also has hinted that he may carve off some of Apple's vast $81.6 billion for acquisitions.

Apple's stock was down $3.03, or 0.77%, at $388.81 on Tuesday.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York

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