Pantech may not be the most well-known phone manufacturer, but several of its devices have made it over to the U.S., such as the Pantech Perception and the Pantech Discover, sold through the Verizon and AT&T networks respectively. Aside from these, the firm produces some other interesting devices, which sadly don’t see an international release. For example, the 5.9-inch, 1080p Vega Number 6 was displayed during CES this year, and is still on of the largest smartphone/tablet hybrids with a 1080p display.
Samsung has obviously been paying attention, and has acquired a 10 percent stake in Pantech, worth a reported $47 million. This makes Samsung the company’s third largest investor, behind Qualcomm and the Korea Development Bank, both of whom own 11 percent each. According to the Yonhap news agency, Samsung has had a long-standing relationship with Pantech, having sold it some $200 million worth of components last year.
In a statement provided to The Next Web, Samsung confirms the deal, saying it’ll, “Solidify the relationship with Pantech, a key component customer.” It adds that Samsung will be a silent partner, and won’t be involved with decision making, or managing the business.
Pantech is Korea’s smallest phone manufacturer, but in 2012, it’s estimated to have sold 12 million phones in Korea, a third of Samsung’s output, but enough to give it a 20 percent market share and ahead of LG on home turf. However, despite talk of launching more phones internationally, including in China and Europe, there have been rumors of funding problems which have forced the plans to be put on hold. A Marketwatch report says Pantech switched strategy at the beginning of 2013, to concentrate on attracting investments. Whether the Samsung deal will be enough to see Pantech resume its international plans remains to be seen.
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