Lenovo says it is buying back its handset division for $200 million just one year after selling the unit to private equity group Legend Holdings.
The deal aims to strengthen Lenovo’s grip on China’s rapidly expanding mobile Internet market, which is estimated by the company to exceed $16 billion by 2014 on the growth of 3G mobile broadband services. Lenovo Mobile has the third highest market share of China’s mobile handset market and is the country’s top-selling domestic brand.
In a statement, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said that the company viewed mobile Internet as a “key growth opportunity moving forward.” “…we’re confident in our ability to execute our mobile Internet strategy and make it our next growth engine after the China business,” he added.
Lenovo, the world’s fourth-largest PC manufacturer, sold its handset unit after a 31 percent decline in shipments during the third quarter of its 2007/2008 fiscal year. Sales in the division had been representing an ever-shrinking proportion of Lenovo’s sales, prompting the company to divest the unit for $100 million. The deal was announced Jan. 31, 2008.
The repurchase of the handset division is conditional upon shareholder approval. Lenovo did not provide a timeframe for when it expected the deal to close.