Vertu has built a reputation for making luxury smartphones made of fine materials. Despite (or in part because of) the company’s high price points, it hasn’t been able reach success, with the last filing (2014) reporting a loss of £53 million. Baferton Ltd aims to change this with an acquisition valued at £50 million.
The most interesting part is that Vertu would now be owned by a man named Hakan Uzan, who comes from a controversial Turkish family that has even been found in court with Nokia, the original founder of Vertu. They were accused of fraud after defaulting on a loan from Nokia and Motorola. These companies believed the family had siphoned cash to pay for personal luxuries.
The Uzan family once owned a bank, a broadcaster, a mobile operator and other companies. All were seized in 2003, after being found guilty in court, and the family went into exile. They are also known for going to court with current USA president Donald Trump. Regardless of all these political problems, Mr. Uzan seems very excited to work with Vertu.
“I look forward to working with the team and providing the investment to enable Vertu to realise its full potential.” -Hakan Uzan
Can Uzan turn things around for Vertu? We will have to wait and see. Even if these smartphones are insanely expensive, we believe there is definitely a market for them. It just hasn’t been captured well.