NEC is going ahead with plans to sell its mobile phone business, but not to Lenovo.
Although reports have circulated that the world’s No. 2 PC maker might expand its venture into mobile phones by acquiring NEC’s business, Japan-based Marubeni is acquiring it for some $811 million.
Bloomberg news and Reuters reported the deal Monday.
Lenovo, which operates its global executive headquarters in Morrisville, also reportedly has been in talks to acquire part of IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) server business.
Lenovo already is partners with NEC in building the top-selling PC partnership in Japan. There had been talk Lenovo might also acquire the NEC phone business as part of efforts to expand its smartphone business, which is growing rapidly to other countries outside of China.
But in a statement NEC said NEC Mobile Ltd. would go to Marubeni. Marubeni focuses on metals and energy resources, which made up 49 percent of the trader’s net income in the fiscal year ending March 31.
NEC is reorganizing its operations to focus on corporate services and selling assets as it plans to use loans to strengthen its finances and make strategic investments. The maker of La Vie computers has cut about 10,000 jobs and sold assets including a stake in Lenovo last year.
NEC Mobiling runs 237 stores and 4 service centers, mainly in Japan, and earned 5.89 billion yen in profit in the year to March 31, up 20 percent on the previous 12 months, according its website.
The outlook for Japan’s smartphone market is one of rapid growth, according to Tokyo-based MM Research Institute Ltd. The number of smartphone subscribers surged to 37 percent of all contracts as of March 31 from 3 percent three years earlier, and may jump to 58 percent in March 2015, the researcher said.
Global smartphone sales will probably rise 28 percent this year to 836 million units, according to IHS Inc.’s iSuppli.
(Bloomberg contributed to this report.)
[LENOVO ARCHIVE: Check out eight years of Lenovo stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]