Sony Corp. is set to begin formal talks to buy a Japanese chip plant from Renesas Electronics Corp. to increase production of smartphone image sensors, people with knowledge of the situation said.

Sony plans to begin due diligence next week, and the companies may not reach a final agreement, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. The Tokyo-based company is increasing output of the sensors, which help phones take high-quality photos, as companies such as Apple Inc. buy Sony’s technology for use in their own devices.

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