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ST-Ericsson finds no buyers, may shut down

PARIS: STMicroelectronics and Ericsson have failed to find a buyer for their loss-making wireless electronic chip joint venture and will now consider whether to close the business down, news service Bloomberg said on its website.


On Monday the chief executive of the ST-Ericsson unit stepped down with no replacement named, a move which analysts interpreted as meaning the long-mooted sale was not going well.

STMicro and Ericsson formed ST-Ericsson in 2008 but the mobile chipmaker has failed to make a profit and burned through cash despite rounds of cost cuts and layoffs, having failed to win enough new customers to compensate for a major drop in business with Nokia as a result of its loss of market share to Apple and Samsung Electronics.

In December STMicro said it would seek to exit the venture, while Ericsson has said it does not want to buy out its partner and would explore all solutions.

Potential buyers for ST-Ericsson including Samsung Electronics were approached but declined to make an offer, Bloomberg said.

Analysts had previously suggested Intel or Broadcom might be buyers but since the December announcement they concluded that a sale would be difficult given the weakness of the business.

A spokesman for STMicroelectronics declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Ericsson.