Japanese electronics firm in talks over phone unit sale

Fri, 26 Jan 2018

Japan's Fujitsu electronics company has announced it is in talks with an investment fund group concerning the potential sale of its mobile phone company, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

Set to become the latest Japanese electronics firm to withdraw from the mobile phone sector, Fujitsu has revealed that it considering a deal with Tokyo-based investment fund Polaris Capital Group, which will reportedly be worth between 40 billion and 50 billion Yen (between GBP£257 million and GBP£321 million). However, Fujitsu is yet to comment on the size of the stake currently being negotiated.

The proposed sale has been prompted by the significant competition Fujitsu faces from larger rivals, including Apple and Samsung. In a statement, the firm revealed that it hoped to sell the phone unit of its business and shift its focus towards its core information technology business.

Currently, 70 per cent of the company's sales come from operations including server sales and system developments. However, it is also expected to retain its Arrows brand under Polaris.

Fujitsu's mobile phone arm was first separated from the main company in 2016 and currently achieves annual sales of around 150 billion Yen (GBP£963 million), with operating profit coming in at just 10 billion Yen (GBP£64 million).

News of its sale has drawn interest from a number of interest funds other than Polaris, including CVC Capital Partners Ltd and Lenovo Group Ltd, the latter of which agreed to merge its PC operations with Fujitsu in November 2017. Should the sale go ahead, Fujitsu will leave just three Japanese companies competing within the mobile phone sector, including Sony Corp, Sharp Corp and Kyocera Corp.

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