Samsung Electronics reportedly ponders buying Fiat parts

Parts-maker to the stars Magneti Marelli could power Exynos-powered Tizen-mobiles

Samsung Electronics is considering an acquisition of Magneti Marelli, the Fiat-Chrysler-owned automotive parts supplier.

Magneti Marelli makes exhausts, suspensions, power trains, internal plastics and other in-car essentials and sells them to auto-makers other than its parent companies. Samsung is probably more interest in its business producing “instrument clusters, telematics and satellite navigation” systems, plus the R&D teams that crank them out.

Financial analysts like the idea of an acquisition because Samsung Electronics, the unit of the giant Chaebol responsible for its semiconductors and phones, is felt to be at a stage where it could benefit from diversity and opportunities that take it into new markets. Cars are a decent fit: they are made in their millions every year, have increasing quantities of electronics inside so will need kit like Samsung's Exynos CPUs and may also be just the kind of environment in which Samsung's Tizen operating system could do well powering telematics systems and other gadgetry. Integrating Samsung phones into hundreds of millions of dashboards and entertainment systems a year also sounds like a fine opportunity.

Those opportunities could be dwarfed by autonomous vehicles, which are going to need a lot of silicon inside before their rubber hits the road.

Speculation suggests Samsung is willing to lay out about US$3bn just for Magneti Marelli's telematics and gadgetry businesses.

The acquisition is just scuttlebutt, for now. But very interesting scuttlebutt indeed that's come at a time Samsung Electronics' stock has edged up just under one per cent. ®

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