What you need to know
- Reports indicate that LG has yet to find a buyer for its smartphone business.
- LG was in talks to sell the business to Vingroup, but price differences were too great.
- The company maintains that it will launch its rollable phone this year, despite rumors indicating otherwise.
Things are not looking good for LG. The company's mobile division has been a weak link for the past six years, unable to compete with some of the best Android phones on the market. Now looks like it's having trouble letting go of this money-losing machine. LG has reportedly been looking to sell its smartphone business as part of its latest restructuring, but it turns out it may not be so easy to find a buyer.
The Korea Times reports that talks to sell the smartphone business to Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup have broken down. Apparently, the price was the main determinant, according to an official familiar with the situation. The sale would have included LG's manufacturing plants in Vietnam and Brazil.
With Vingroup offering a lower price than expected, LG will move on to find another buyer. Also, the company's smartphone production lines overseas such as in Vietnam and Brazil can be realigned to manufacture home appliances.
LG will likely continue searching for a buyer, but given the flexibility of its manufacturing facilities, it's possible that the company could just stop making phones regardless of whether or not one can be found. LG would even relocate employees within the company to lessen the impact of the restructuring.
Meanwhile, questions have arisen over the future of a highly-anticipated smartphone known as the LG Rollable. Some reports claim that LG is putting the project on hold indefinitely, although the company has since refuted these allegations. A spokesperson from LG has said that they can "firmly deny that any such decision on future mobile products has been finalized."
That doesn't exactly sound reassuring and could very well mean that the decision to scrap the device remains on the table. LG is also expected to launch follow-ups to its India-exclusive W-series smartphones, as well as a successor to last year's LG V60 ThinQ, although they could also be on the chopping block.
Losing LG as a smartphone manufacturer wouldn't exactly be a good thing, nor would the loss of one of the year's most exciting smartphones. Fortunately, LG isn't the only manufacturer working on rollable phones, and OPPO has what looks to be a near-finished concept model that looks ready for prime time.