Speculation that Google is planning a takeover of HTC intensified after the Taiwanese smartphone firm issued a release stating its shares will be suspended from trading as of tomorrow (21 September).
In a statement to the Taiwanese Stock Exchange, HTC said trading will be halted tomorrow, “pending the release of material information”.
Shortly before, the company said it would not comment on speculation about a rumoured approach from Alphabet’s Google.
Taiwanese media first reported that Google was eyeing HTC’s smartphone unit, or a move to take on its R&D business, earlier this month.
The news followed speculation that HTC was looking to sell off its VR business Vive in a bid to raise funds, or could even look to sell the entire whole company.
The second scenario was seen as less likely, due to the lack of a potential buyer that would want to take on both the smartphone and VR units.
Last month, the troubled device vendor saw a massive drop in sales, which heightened speculation.
Once a prominent player in the smartphone market, HTC has notably struggled to compete with market leaders Apple and Samsung in recent times, and the situation has reportedly been worsened by slowing sales of its most recent flagship – the U11 smartphone.
For Google, the move would further step up its ambitions in smartphone hardware, after it launched its Pixel devices last year.
Google worked with HTC on the phones, so a takeover could prove fruitful for both parties.
HTC, which today has less than 1 per cent of smartphone market share, is worth approximately $1.9 billion.
And the deal could boost Google’s ambitions in the VR space, where it has launched its Daydream offering that competes with HTC’s Vive.