Yota Devices has a new majority shareholder, which will provide it with the cash to push ahead with its dual-screen smartphones.
According to Engadget, Hong Kong-based investment company REX Global has taken a 64.9 per cent stake in the venture, with Vlad Martynov, CEO, describing its search for a partner as being based on a need for “long-term access to financial resources”.
The report also said that Martynov was keen to point out that Yota was “not in financial crisis”, and could have continued as “a niche company that sells a product in a few markets” – but it has grander ambitions.
REX Global has committed to invest $50 million in its first phase of support for Yota.
Earlier this year Yota axed an effort to launch YotaPhone 2 in the US, having looked to Indiegogo to raise funds to support its effort.
In September, Yota inked a deal with ZTE’s supply chain arm covering the manufacture of the next-generation YotaPhone, as well as the “development and integration of mobile services and software”.
Earlier YotaPhone devices had been produced by a partner in Singapore.
This move was designed to significantly cut production costs for YotaPhone.
And indeed, one of the main criticisms of YotaPhone, which marries a traditional smartphone with a second e-ink screen, has been its price – at launch YotaPhone 2 cost €699, putting it on a par with an iPhone or Galaxy S-series device.
At the time of the launch (December 2014), it was reported that Yota was looking for new backers, again with the line that it could continue without but that a new partner would enable it to ramp its efforts.