Foxconn to slurp loss-making Smart Technologies for $200m

Interactive display firm latest to go Chinese

Loss-making interactive display vendor Smart Technologies has agreed to sell up to Foxconn for $200m.

Under the terms of the deal, the Chinese contract manufacturer will fork out $4.50 per Smart Tech share, equating to a 21 per cent premium on the average trading price in the last 90 days.

The buy gives Smart access to a “broad range of new technologies, markets and financial resources” that will speed up its “strategy”, said Smart president and CEO Neil Gaydon.

Foxconn generated revenues of $150bn in 2015 and counts more than one million humans on its payroll, though the robots are gradually replacing some of them. Companies that pay the company to make their gear include Apple, Nokia and Sony.

Revenues at Smart peaked at $800m in 2011, but things have taken a turn for the worse since as the global economy remained stuck in a rut.

In the last set of results for fiscal ’16 ended 31 March, Smart made a net loss of $60.9m versus a profit of $24.1m in the previous year, on sales of $348.5m, down from $431.3m.

Husband and wife founders David Martin and Nancy Knowlton resigned in the first half of 2012 and Gaydon, a boss of TV set-top box maker Pace was hired to improve the firm’s fortunes, which includes expanding the client base in the corporate world.

Directors, officers and shareholders that account for 68 per cent of the total stockholding have entered into lock-up agreements. A meeting of shareholders was set for July.

Earlier this week, Smart’s one-time exclusive UK distributors Steljes went into administration, this happened months after Smart had brought on board Weston to distribute its product. ®

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