Theres apparently at least one interesting possible buyer. Reportedly, the entire company, including its patents, hardware products, an upcoming smart home device, a camera attachment for the PH-1, and the company's engineers, are potentially up for sale. Unfortunately, the dream was short-lived, as a new report from Bloomberg says that Rubin is putting Essential up for sale.
It reads, "We always have multiple products in development at the same time and we embrace canceling some in favor of the ones we think will be bigger hits". According to a report out of Bloomberg, Essential has canceled the Essential Phone 2 and is looking to sell itself.
The company a year ago raised some $300 million in funding from several investors, including Amazon, Foxconn, and Tencent, and it was valued between $900 million and $1 billion last summer.
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Representatives for the White House did not respond to a request for more information about the president's statement. ZTE relies on U.S. tech for its products, sourcing chips from companies including Qualcomm (QCOM) and Intel ( INTC ).
The rumored sale is not final though "private" talks are said to now be in progress, with the possibility of Essential's hired talent being a part of the deal should an agreement be made and if the sale moves forward. The company's first smartphone was the Essential Phone and it flopped massively. Currently, that team is said to be working on the Essential Home, having shelved development of an Essential Phone 2 follow-up to the original handset.
A silver lining: According to Bloomberg, if Essential manages to find a manufacturer other than Foxconn the company could return to the smartphone business. The goal is believed to be getting the smart home device, which has a circular touchscreen and also works with Essential's modular add-on system, onto the market by next year. Having products that further along in the development process would also potentially allow a sale of Essential to be more valuable. This device could launch next year, though Essential has said little about it since offering a rudimentary preview in August of 2017. He, however, made it clear the company isn't shutting down. The company debuted its first smartphone named Essential PH-1 amid a lot of fanfare but IDC estimates it to have sold fewer than 90,000 units in its first six months. This would take Essential out of the hard development process, but still give them a presence in the smartphone market.
The Information was also able to obtain an internal email sent by Rubin to his employees.