Posted : 2014-10-09 15:25
Updated : 2014-10-09 18:23

ZTE may purchase Pantech

By Kim Yoo-chul

China's budget smartphone manufacturer ZTE is trying to buy the troubled Korean handset maker Pantech, according to sources Thursday.

Pantech, now under court receivership, is valued at $400 million by creditors.

"ZTE expressed its interest in buying Pantech and submitted a letter of intent," said a Pantech official.

An official from Samjong KMPG was less definitive, saying: "We can't specify the name of companies that have submitted a letter of intent for Pantech; however, a Chinese company is one of them."

Samjong plans to choose the preferred bidder by late October and complete the deal by February next year. Pantech currently owns 291 U.S. patents, with 269 utility patents and 22 design patents.

It also has 2,500 Korean patents and 200 European patents, said both Pantech officials and sources in the banking industry.

Pantech is currently under a court-receivership program since August of this year after SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus refused to extend financial support to the nation's number three handset maker.

"Pantech can be turned around thanks to new subsidy caps and global demand for budget models," said the Pantech official. In 2012, ZTE introduced a budget mobile here without much success.

Pantech is accelerating its moves for the machine-to-machine market as the manufacturer identified this as one of its next growth engines.

"Pantech is quite attractive in terms of its patent portfolio and technologies," said an official at LG Electronics.

관련 한글 기사

팬택 인수의향서 접수 마감…중국 업체 참여

법정관리 중인 팬택의 인수의향서 접수가 7일 오후 3시에 마감됐다. 

팬택 매각절차를 주관하는 삼정회계법인은 '앞서 공고한 대로 팬택 인수의향서 접수를 마감했다'고 이날 밝혔다. 

그러나 어떤 업체가 인수의향서를 냈는지, 인수의향서를 낸 업체가 몇 곳인지 등에 대해서는 공개하지 않았다. 다만 인수의향서를 제출한 업체 중 중국 업체가 있다는 사실은 확인됐다. 

삼정회계법인은 또 중국이 최근 국경절 등 연휴 때문에 제출에 어려움을 겪은 점을 고려해 마감 이후에도 추가로 인수의향서를 받을 계획이라고 밝혔다.

기술력이 뛰어난 팬택의 매각에 중국업체가 참여함에 따라 기술 유출 우려에 대한 논란이 다시 제기될 개연성도 있을 것으로 보인다.

삼정회계법인은 법원과 투자자의 의견을 구해 이르면 29일 입찰 절차를 시작할 예정이다. 

삼정회계법인 관계자는 '다음 달 중으로 팬택의 매각을 마무리하는 것을 목표로 추진하고 있다'면서도 '법원과 투자자의 결정 등에 따라 일정은 다소 늦춰질 수 있다'고 설명했다. (연합뉴스)

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