South Korean media reports that Pantech is about to get bought out, doesn’t say by who

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 14 Oct 2013

According to the Korean publication The Bell, Pantech is about to get acquired. The deal will be announced in as little as seven days, and right now both Samsung and LG are fighting for them, along with local operator SK Telecom and the local car maker Hyundai of all companies.

Now is this a good thing or a bad thing? Korea is a country of just 50 million people, so to expect that three healthy handset makers could exist in such a small market is a bit naïve. Let’s also not forget that Pantech exports some pretty awful smartphones to the United States, but that’s it. They have zero presence elsewhere, which is a shame, since many of the innovations (translation: gimmicks) that they’ve pioneered have been shamelessly stolen by their bigger cousins, Samsung and LG.

Speaking about Samsung and LG, what could they possibly do with Pantech? Easy, steal their talent. Inject some new blood into their design department. No one wants to see the next Galaxy look like the old Galaxy. And no one wants to see LG’s custom Android user interface, not even the Koreans.

How much is Pantech actually worth? Back in May, Samsung bought 10% of Pantech for $48 million. Assuming they’re worth as much today as they were back then, that means Pantech comes in at a cool half billion US dollars.