Alphabet Inc.’s Google is close to acquiring assets from Taiwan’s HTC Corp., according to a person familiar with the situation, in a bid to bolster the internet giant’s nascent hardware business.
HTC, once ranked among the world’s top smartphone makers, is holding a town hall meeting Thursday, according to tech website Venture Beat, which cited a copy of an internal invitation. The shares will also be suspended from trading as of Sept. 21 due to a pending announcement, according to the Taiwan stock exchange.
Google and HTC couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Speculation of some kind of agreement between Google and HTC has been swirling for weeks. HTC has been working with an adviser and had been considering bringing in a strategic investor, selling its Vive virtual reality headset business or spinning off the unit, Bloomberg reported last month, citing people familiar with the matter.
Apple Daily reported Wednesday that Google will buy HTC’s mobile phone original design operations for about NT$10 billion ($330 million). Google will keep the HTC brand and take on about 100 HTC engineers, the website reported citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.
By owning a manufacturer outright, Google could improve sales for its new Pixel smartphone, a pillar of the company’s strategy to spread its critical Android software and better compete with Apple Inc. Google’s last attempt at smartphone ownership was short lived: after acquiring Motorola’s handset business for $12.5 billion, Google sold it less than three years later to Lenovo Group Ltd. for a fraction of the price.