Huawei is well-known for its budget Honor brand of smartphones, but the company is reportedly set to sell the unit to a Chinese-based consortium led by distributor Digital China and the local Shenzhen government for $15.2 billion.
Citing “people with knowledge of the matter,” Reuters reports that the all-cash sale will cover all Honor assets, including the brand name, research & development capabilities, and supply chain management.
Huawei created Honor back in 2013 to increase its presence in the low- to mid-range smartphone market. It competes with the likes of Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi in China and sells products in other Asian countries and Europe.
Between July and September, Honor phones made up 26 percent of the 51.7 million handsets shipped by Huawei. The brand’s product portfolio includes laptops, tablet computers, smart TVs and electronic accessories. Most of the group’s 7,000 employees are expected to be retained, and Honor plans to go public within three years.
Rumors of a potential sale first arrived last month when rivals Xiaomi and TCL were mentioned as potential buyers. A deal will allow Huawei to focus its efforts on the more profitable high-end market.
The US government has had a long-running battle with Huawei and prohibits most American businesses from dealing with the company following its addition to an entity list last year. Analysts believe a sale could mean Honor will be exempt from the US sanctions, though it’ll be interesting to see whether the incoming administration sees it that way.
Huawei is expected to announce the deal as early as this Sunday, November 15.