companies

Samsung says sold off shares in four tech firms

Move aimed at freeing up money and focus on its main business

AFP
15:16 September 18, 2016
Billboards of Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Seoul: Samsung Electronics said Sunday it had sold shares it held in four technology companies including US chipmaker Rambus and Japan’s Sharp to free up money and focus on its main business.

The South Korean tech giant also sold shares in Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASLM and US hard drive maker Seagate, it said in a statement.

Samsung — the world’s top smartphone maker which also manufactures memory chips, TVs and home appliances — has for years bought shares in other tech firms in semiconductor or display panel industries.

“It was aimed at focusing on our core business by efficiently managing the investments made in the past in line with changes in business environments,” Samsung said.

The news of the sales came as the firm is mired in a major recall of its flagship smartphone over a series of battery explosions.

The global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone raised alarm among air carriers and aviation safety authorities worldwide that banned the device on flights.

Samsung sold off half of a 3-per cent stake it held in ASML, and its entire stakes in the other three companies for “efficient management of assets,” it said.

It had held a 4.5-per cent stake in Rambus, 0.7 per cent of Sharp and a 4.2-per cent stake in Seagate.

The firm did not elaborate on the timing or the value of the sales.

Yonhap news agency estimated the value to be about 1 trillion won ($890 million), including 600 billion won from the sale of the ASML shares.

Samsung and its sister firms have in recent years divested from non-core operations as the parent Samsung Group sought to streamline business amid a generational power transfer in the founding Lee family.

The group’s current chairman Lee Kun-Hee has been bedridden since suffering a heart attack in 2014 with his son, J.Y. Lee, widely believed to take over.

The junior Lee, currently the vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics, was nominated last week by the firm’s board as a new board member.