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NEC looks to sell its mobile phone unit to Lenovo -- report

The company hasn't confirmed that it's looking to sell its struggling mobile phone operation, but did say it's "considering a number of ways" to bolster its chances of success.

A look at NEC's dual-screen device.
A look at NEC's dual-screen device.
CNET News Asia

Japan-based NEC is considering selling its ailing mobile phone unit, a new report claims.

NEC is looking to sell off its mobile phone unit to Lenovo, Reuters is reporting today, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the discussions. The company is also talking with other Japan-based companies about selling off its mobile phone operation.

Lenovo has been reported to be involved in a slew of talks lately surrounding a mobile phone acquisition. Most recently, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said that his company was open to buying BlackBerry, lending further credence to claims that the PC maker has plans to enter the mobile space.

NEC has been unable to gain traction in the mobile arena, leaving it with two straight years of losses. Selling the mobile unit could help it raise some much-needed cash and return to profitability. In a statement to investors in the Tokyo Stock Exchange today, NEC said that it's "considering a number of ways to bolster the competitiveness of our mobile phone business, but nothing has been decided." NEC declined to say that it's in buyout talks with any other company.

NEC's troubles haven't been for lack of trying. At Mobile World Congress last month, the company unveiled one of the most interesting Android smartphones, the Medias W N-05E. The device comes with two screens that, when opened, come together to measure 5.6 inches. When the screens are folded back, the device looks like a standard smartphone.