Infineon has hired JPMorgan, the US investment bank, to sound out a possible sale of its wireless business.
People close to the situation said at least one possible buyer had approached the German chipmaker, which was now looking at all options for the unit.
However, a sale is seen as unlikely as Infineon is set to demand a high price following a successful restructuring, which saw the business return to profit in the first half of the year.
Bankers estimate that the unit, which made €917m in revenues last year and supplies chips for Apple’s iPad and components for Nokia, Samsung and Research in Motion, could be worth around €1bn ($1.3bn).
The German chipmaker, which declined to comment, had pondered a sale of the wireless unit early last year, at a time when Infineon scrambled to stay alive amid huge losses.
But the company changed tack when a fast turnaround of the whole company in the second half of 2009 was followed by a swing back to profits of the wireless unit this year.
Peter Bauer, Infineon’s chief executive, said in March that he expected the unit to grow with its customers in the coming years and said he saw no reason why the company should not expand the business.