Siemens has finally found a company that is willing to "buy" its ailing mobile handset business. BenQ of Taiwan has agreed to take over the business unit and will move its headquarters to Germany.
BenQ will receive not only the ownership of R&D facilities and a 8.4 percent stake in Symbian, but is also set to get a € 50m investment from the German company and € 250m in cash to keep the business afloat while BenQ tries to integrate it make it profitable.
Simply put, Siemens just gave BenQ € 300m to get rid of its mobile phone division, which just shows how desperate the company must have been to get out of this business. After the deal has been finalised, all Benq really has to show for it is a 2.5 percent stake in the Taiwanese company.
The mobile unit brought in € 5bn in revenues and caused $152m in losses last year.
Paying BenQ for the privilege of taking over the business might seem odd, but I'm sure Siemens did the math. Closing down factories, taking care of warranty obligations and laying off the 6,000 employees would have cost more than the €300m it's paying the Taiwanese, even after Siemens would have sold their stake in Symbian and patents.
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