In a move seen by analysts as the first step in a joint venture or outright sale of its chip business, Fujitsu is spinning off its struggling semiconductor unit into a new subsidiary. Fujitsu's chip business accounts for 10 percent of its entire sales, but has long suffered losses due to growing costs of research and development as well as equipment investment.

The decision follows a wave of consolidation in Japan as major players, including IBM and Samsung, look to reduce their escalating development costs. The new subsidiary will be formed in March, with consolidation of the new company expected to be completed in September with a price tag of around $93 million.