Augmented-reality startup Magic Leap reportedly considering selling itself

The mysterious maker of AR glasses is considering strategic options, Bloomberg reports.

Magic Leap reportedly had a tough time selling its first AR glasses.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Magic Leap, a mysterious maker of augmented reality glasses, is reportedly considering strategic options that include selling itself. The startup is working with an advisor to explore options such as forming a partnership or selling a stake in the company ahead of a potential listing, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing unidentified sources.

Unlike virtual reality, which promises to immerse goggle-wearing users in new and exciting digital worlds, AR overlays images and data atop the real world. The best-known example of AR today is Pokemon Go, in which Pokemon characters appear on players' phone screens amid the streets or parks the players are exploring.

Founded in 2011, Google-funded Magic Leap has spent $2.3 billion creating its AR glasses, and after years of skepticism that the startup might be building the world's best funded vaporware, it finally released its headset in the fall of 2018.  The Magic Leap One glasses, which launched with a hefty price tag of $2,295, feature displays, audio and external camera sensors.

However, the company reportedly sold just 6,000 virtual reality headsets in the six months after launching the product -- far behind CEO Rony Abovitz's goal of selling 100,000 Magic Leap One devices in that period.

Magic Leap didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.