In yet another round of Samsung restructuring, Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) says it will consider acquiring the shares of unlisted medical equipment maker Samsung Medison that it does not currently own.
Samsung Electronics currently holds a 68.5% stake in Samsung Medison, which has a book value of about 478B won ($472M).
Samsung's restructuring has accelerated since the May hospitalization of the group's chairman Lee Kun-hee, and has sparked investor speculation to the group's succession.
SmartThings' platform relies on kits featuring a router and small sensors that attach to various home items. Once installed, users can monitor, control, and customize connected devices using mobile apps.
The acquisition follows Google's purchases of smart thermostat/smoke detector vendor Nest and Wi-Fi monitoring camera maker Dropcam, and the launch of Apple's HomeKit platform, which aims to let 3rd-party home devices be controlled with iOS hardware.
SmartThings is looking to differentiate itself by creating an open platform for 3rd-party apps/services - founder/CEO Alex Hawkinson claims SmartThings supports 1K+ devices and 8K+ apps. Control4 (NASDAQ:CTRL), whose shares took off after the Google/Nest deal was announced, is among SmartThings' rivals.
After taking in Google's (GOOG) Q4 numbers, FBR estimates handing off Motorola Mobility to Lenovo (LNVGY) could boost the Web giant's op. margin by as much as 500 bps. Whereas Google proper has an op. margin of 34%, Motorola's losses dragged down the company's total op. margin to 29%.
TechCrunch reports that with Motorola gone, newly-acquired Nest will serve as Google's primary hardware team. Nest, founded by iPod "godfather" Tony Fadell, will reportedly develop gadgets very different from the smart thermostats/smoke alarms it's known for.
Many observers think the Lenovo sale is at least partly tied to Google's recent deals with Samsung (SSNLF). The reasoning: Samsung's reported willingness to embrace a vision of Android closer to Google's (toning down support for custom apps/UIs, and promoting Google apps/services) is linked to Google's decision to sell its mobile hardware unit.
It's possible Google also gave Samsung favorable terms in their recent cross-licensing deal. In terms of patent portfolio/breadth, Google held the upper hand.
In addition to keeping most of Motorola's patents, Google is holding onto the company's Advanced Technology unit, which is responsible for the Project Ara modular phone initiative.
Lenovo says it will keep the Motorola brand in the U.S., and that it aims to eventually pass Apple and Samsung to be the world's largest smartphone vendor.
Just an hour after reports emerged Google (GOOG) is set to sell Motorola's phone ops to Lenovo (LNVGY), the deal has been announced by Larry Page. Lenovo will pay $2.91B for the struggling, loss-generating smartphone maker; Google will retain the "vast majority" of its patents.
Page explains the deal by stating the smartphone market is "super competitive," and that "it helps to be all-in." He promises the sale doesn't have broader implications for Google's hardware efforts.
Google paid $12.5B for Motorola Mobility in 2011. After backing out the Lenovo sale, the Arris sale, and $3.5B in cash, Google effectively paid ~$3.7B for Motorola's patents, assuming one doesn't count the losses the phone unit has produced under Google's control.
The sale expands Lenovo's U.S. presence, and gives it access to Motorola's respected hardware engineering teams as it tries to grab high-end Android share from market leader Samsung (SSNLF). IDC estimates Lenovo had a 4.9% smartphone share in Q4 (up from 4.1% a year ago).
The deal also removes a point of friction between Google and its Android partners. It shortly follows a report stating Google has pressured Samsung to tone down its Android UI changes and more strongly emphasize Google's apps/services, as it tries to exert greater control over Android's look and feel.
Bloomberg reports BlackBerry (BBRY) is "more open to a breakup" as doubts continue to swirl Fairfax Financial will be able to obtain the funding needed for its $9/share bid to succeed.
The news service adds SAP, Cisco (CSCO), and Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) were "approached last week by BlackBerry advisers," and indicated they’re "only interested in parts of the company." That provides a bit of color to Saturday's Reuters report.
Intel (INTC) is said to be open to bidding for BlackBerry's patents, but nothing else.
Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has put together a list of start-ups and other small companies it might be interested in buying, and it's bolstering its presence in Silicon Valley, as it looks to boost its software capabilities.
The South Korean company has allocated $1.1B for early stage and venture capital investments in the U.S. as well.
The companies Samsung has been interested in include gaming pioneer Atari, while it also reportedly bid for Waze before Google bought the mobile-mapping company.
However, Samsung's disastrous $840M purchase of computer maker AST Research in the mid-1990s hangs like a shadow over the firm's approach.