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LG stops short of confirming Google OLED interest, says deal is not done yet

LG confirmed that it received offers of investment for its OLED display business, but stopped short from naming Google as one of the potential investors.

Published onApril 11, 2017

In a regulatory filing for the Korean stock exchange, LG confirmed that it received offers of investment for its OLED display business, but stopped short from naming Google as one of the potential investors. The company cautioned that no deal has been finalized yet.

Yesterday, Korean media reported that Google wants to invest at least one trillion won (around $880 million) in LG’s small-sized OLED display manufacturing operation. In exchange, Google would receive preferential access to LG’s smartphone display production, presumably for the next generation of the Pixel.

Nothing has been decided on the issueIt is true that a growing number of clients are showing interest in flexible OLED with the market’s expansion recently,” LG said in the filing. 

While LG did not confirm the potential deal with Google, the fact that it did not deny it — in a regulatory filing, mind you — suggests that the multiple reports about Google’s massive investment in OLED may be grounded in truth.

Sources told the Investor that Google and LG have been in talks for two years over a potential investment, but Google has “recently become more flexible to rush the panel production.” According to ETNews, Google doesn’t aim to take a stake in LG or to simply secure production. The one trillion won investment is said to be an effort to develop a strategic relationship with LG.

It’s not the first time Google is rumored to be considering a large investment in LG. In July 2015, LG issued an official rebuttal of rumors about a $2.2 billion investment from Google, rumors that had previously sent LG’s stock up 14 percent.

If Google does end up pouring money into LG, it wouldn’t be unprecedented in the mobile industry. Apple, for instance, has invested billions to prop up suppliers throughout its supply chain. The fact that Google is mulling a similar strategy indicates the company is serious about its hardware efforts.

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