Ambitious Chinese technology company LeEco announced plans to acquire Vizio, a California-based TV manufacturer, for $2 billion, giving it a footprint in North America from which to sell smart TVs.
Vizio, founded in 2002, has grown rapidly as a seller of inexpensive TVs by using contract manufacturers, Nikkei Business Review said. It had a 17.2 per cent share of the North American TV market last year, putting it second behind Samsung, according to IHS.
The deal will give LeEco “immediate global scale to bring its innovations to consumers worldwide”.
Vizio will spin-out its data analysis business into an independent company called Inscape. Vizio founder and CEO William Wang will also transfer to Inscape.
Other Vizio executives will move to LeEco to run the business as an independent subsidiary. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
LeEco, which is a relative newcomer to the smartphone market, is better known in China for its streaming video service.
A month ago it added an 11 per cent stake in smartphone maker Coolpad, making it the largest shareholder in the firm with a 29 per cent interest.
LeEco said it plans to hire 800 people worldwide as it expands its range of branded smartphones, internet-connected TVs and moves into autonomous cars.