Internet giant Google is, according to reports, in the final stages of negotiating a takeover of the smartphone business of struggling Taiwanese electronics company HTC.
The news comes less than three years after Google sold-on Motorola Mobility, the demerged smartphone business of Motorola, at a whacking loss, albeit holding on to the trove of valuable patents the company had come with.
According to a report in Chinese-language Commercial Times, Google and HTC are in the final stages of takeover talks.
There's no word as to how much Google might be planning to pay for the business, which it has reportedly selected to build its upcoming Pixel 2 smartphone.
However, the report notes that 'continuity HTC' - which launched the first Android smartphone back in 2008 - will continue to develop virtual reality products, including the popular HTC Vive headset, after the purchase has been completed, which means the company as a whole isn't on the market.
Commercial Times said HTC's poor financial position and Google's desire to "perfect [the] integration of software, content, hardware, network, cloud, [and] AI", is the driving force behind Google's interest.
Neither company has commented on the report, but a deal could be reached before the end of the year, the report suggested.
The deal has echoes of Google's 2012 takeover of Motorola Mobility, for $12.5bn.
This proved to be a disaster from start to finish, with Motorola Mobility reporting quarter-after-quarter of losses before the company flogged it to Lenovo in 2014 for $2.9bn - around $9.6bn less than Google paid for the firm, notwithstanding the divestiture of various bits and bobs Motorola Mobility came with, and Google's retention of the intellectual property.
If the rumours of Google's planned takeover of HTC aren't true, it's likely that someone else will, as the company effectively put the 'for sale' sign over its ailing smartphone business earlier this year.
HTC's August revenues were the lowest in 13 years, with the firm reporting a loss of $64m, despite the recent launch of its flagship HTC U11 smartphone.
Despite once being a major player in Android smartphones, the company has struggled alongside the relentless competitive drive of Samsung and Apple, and more recently been eclipsed by China's Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo, which made huge gains in the third quarter of 2017.
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