Here's a move that makes all kinds of sense. It also completely blindsided us...
Monster maker of virtually everything apart from smartphones, Acer has today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire maker of smartphones, E-TEN. The deal involves a share exchange with ratio of 1:1.07 for all the outstanding shares of E-TEN, which represents a total value of NT$9 billion (£145.3m) - something of a steal compared to some deals. The acquisition is expected to be completed in Q3.
"This strategic transaction is yet another important milestone in Acer's long history of innovation" said J.T. Wang, Chairman of Acer. "The acquisition of E-Ten increases Acer's global footprint by giving us a strong and highly credible presence in the mobility segment."
"The worldwide smart phone market is estimated to grow by more than 30% by 2011", added Gianfranco Lanci, President of Acer. "Acer will enhance the competitiveness in the ultra mobile segment, by combining PC and communication technologies".
Surprisingly, there was no comment from E-TEN.
With a wide range of innovative Windows Mobile based handsets already on the market - many with GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth and HSDPA, the technology is certainly in place for Acer to exploit with its deep pockets. Indeed, one of the major obstacles E-TEN CEO Simon Hwang expressed to me in our November interview was the difficulty in attaining European and US telco deals. Without this, E-TEN's admirable handsets have to be sold sim-free and unsubsidised with the consequent high prices dissuading many would-be customers. With Acer's weight however this is unlikely to prove a problem for long.
No word yet on whether E-TEN will be renamed (I suspect it will) along with its Glofiish brand (maybe, maybe not) but this is exciting news for the industry. After all if Apple and Garmin