HTC eyes potential sale
HTC has sought external advisors to give the company a range of strategic options moving forward, according to Bloomberg. Options being tabled include anything from a complete sale of the beleaguered Taiwanese handset maker to selling off its Vive VR headset business. Among the companies that HTC has held discussions with, Google is one of the most notable. News of a possible merger, or outright acquisition, helped to push HTC shares up 4.7 percent giving the company a market cap just under US$2 billion.
HTC has seen a precipitous plunge over the past five years that has seen the company’s market value contract by a staggering 75 percent over the same period. As the maker of the very first Android handset, HTC once dominated the Android handset market only to see its lead disappear almost as quickly. HTC was the first company to really push the envelope when it came to making smartphones with large displays. In 2012, it released the world’s first smartphone with a 5-inch 1080p display starting a trend towards larger displays that continues today.
However, the rise of Samsung’s high-end Galaxy smartphones coupled with the South Korean giant's massive marketing machine helped to see HTC fall from market leader to also-ran. Unable to compete with either Apple or Samsung at the high-end of the market, it has also struggled to compete with the deluge of cheap Chinese smartphones saturating the middle and low-end of the market. In recent times, however, its Vive VR headset has helped to give the company some much needed positive press. It has also partnered with Google on the popular Pixel smartphone, and is said to be responsible for manufacturing at least one of the Pixel sequels due to be unveiled in early October.
The company started out in the smartphone business as a contract manufacturer for Microsoft’s original Windows Mobile efforts. It could end up being reduced to carrying out the same function for Google unless it is able to turn itself around – or find a buyer.