HTC on possible Asus buy: Thanks, but no thanks

HTC issues a statement to shareholders on Monday, saying it won't even consider being acquired by Asus.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

HTC CEO Cher Wang apparently has no interest in seeing her company bought by Asus. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Taiwan-based handset maker HTC has one thing to say to device-maker Asus: Get away and stay away.

In a statement to investors on Monday, HTC said that it not only has no interest in being acquired by Asus, but it wouldn't even consider such a a deal if ever presented the opportunity.

"We strongly deny the news," the company wrote in the statement. "We didn't contact Asusteck and will not consider the acquisition. As an international brand, HTC will continue to design world-class innovative smart devices through its pursuit of brilliance brand promise."

The statement comes after Asus Chairman Johnny Shih said on Friday at a shareholder meeting that he's kicked around the idea of acquiring HTC, though the idea has not extended beyond the level of discussion. Asus CFO David Chang told Reuters on Friday in a follow-up statement that the chances of any deal happening would be slim, and that the topic has only been floated "internally."

Still, it was enough to ignite some speculation over the future at HTC. The company, which sells a range of smartphones and other devices around the world, has long built flashy handsets that have been generally well-received among reviewers. Consumers, however, have largely ignored the brand, opting instead for products from companies like Samsung and Apple.

The general lack of interest in HTC products has created a slew of issues for the company. In March, HTC announced that its chief executive Peter Chou would step down and chairwoman and co-founder Cher Wang would take the reins. A week later, the company lost its head of design, Jonah Becker, who was in the post for under a year.

Meanwhile, HTC's relative inability to compete with Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi and others has spawned financial issues. The company earlier this month announced that it revised its second-quarter revenue forecast from a range of $1.48 billion to $1.56 billion to $1.06 billion to $1.16 billion. The company also said that it would post a loss for the second quarter of 31 cents to 32 cents a share.

The financial news was the latest disappointment for the company's investors, who have watched the once-prominent brand become little more than a small fish trying to survive in the cutthroat smartphone market. Shares were down 20 percent early last week as investors took their cash and ran.

The comments made by Asus, which makes PCs, tablets, and smartphones, may have provided a glint of hope for those eyeing a turnaround at HTC. Asus is another Taiwan-based company and has the requisite cash and stock to make a deal happen. Judging by HTC's statement, however, it appears no amount of cash and stock would be enough for Wang and her team to consider a sale.

Shareholders seem pleased by HTC's stance: the company's shares are up 10 percent on Monday to NT$83.60 Taiwan dollars (approximately $2.70).

Asus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.