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No takers for Huawei handset division

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Chinese telecommunications-kit giant Huawei has failed to find a buyer for its handset division, with the state of world markets being blamed for all but two bidders pulling out.

Back in May the company decided to sell off control of its handset division, and hired Morgan Stanley to find a buyer for a majority-shareholding in the business, estimated to be worth about $2bn. But now the FT is reporting that everyone besides Bain Capital and US investment firm Silver Lake have dropped out, and those remaining are only offering 75 per cent of what Huawei is looking for.

Handset manufacturing is not a core business for Huawei, which is mostly concerned with supplying telecommunications infrastructure. But it's made a few handsets for Vodafone, and with China deploying their own variant, 3G technology over the next few years there will be a significant domestic market to serve.

The division could come up for sale again, but not for a while, according to sources quoted by the FT. The paper also reports a significant drop in shares of PCCW, the Hong Kong fixed-line operator currently looking for investment.

Companies are naturally rather loath to make large investments in uncertain times, and this news can't bode well for Motorola's forthcoming split. ®

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