Pantech is looking for buyers, as we’ve reported before. Korea’s third-largest handset maker has recently put its business on sale, and — according to an official from Samjong KMPG — it has received numerous letters of intent for purchase. One of the companies looking to grab the struggling company is China’s ZTE, which is already one of the world’s largest phone makers.
Pantech’s board plans to choose a bidder by the end of this month, and to complete the deal by February 2015. And yes, we would assume ZTE has enough money to pull this through.
It’s unclear what ZTE could get out of the deal. There’s Pantech’s patent pool counting some 291 US patents, 22 of which are related to the device design; as well a 2,500 patents the company filed in Korea, along with 200 European patents. Moreover, as part of the deal ZTE would get a foothold in the hard to penetrate Korean market, if that counts for something. As you know, this is the market heavily dominated by Samsung and LG and is pretty mature, leaving little to no room for further growth.
On the other hand, Pantech used to have deals with few US mobile operators and perhaps that’s what ZTE could be gunning for. It’s not like they don’t have deals with this group of companies, it’s just that every little bit counts.
Overall, I’m not sure ZTE would benefit greatly from Pantech’s acquisition, but then again, I don’t have all the information. We’ll make sure to follow this story and get back to you as soon as we have something new to add. Stay tuned.