Hakan Uzan buys Vertu
Vertu, the luxury handset brand that will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, has just changed hands once again. Previously owned by Godin Holdings, a Hong Kong-based holding, the British manufacturer and retailer has been purchased by Hakan Uzan via a Cyprus-registered company known as Baferton Ltd.
According to the UK press, Hakan Uzan paid around £50 million (over $60,500,000 USD) for Vertu. The Uzan family is a controversial one, and Hakan Uzan was accused by Nokia of a massive fraud back in the early 2000s. He was sentenced in absence to 15 months in jail in 2002 after failing to attend a court hearing, but the sentence was later set aside on appeal.
Nokia established Vertu in 1998, selling it for around £175 million to private equity group EQT VI in October 2012 while retaining a 10 percent stake in the company. Godin Holdings acquired EQT's share in Vertu in 2015. The most recent filing shows a loss of £53 million on sales of £110 million and Godin Holdings has never filed accounts while in control of the brand.
Hakan Uzan told The Daily Telegraph that "Vertu is a powerful brand with an acknowledged market niche," also adding that he looks forward "to working with the team and providing the investment to enable Vertu to realize its full potential."