If you’ve seen Vizio TVs at Costco, then you may be familiar with the Irvine-based firm.
But you may not realize Vizio has become so big that it was about to be sold to a Chinese company for $2 billion.
But that deal is now off.
The Chinese firm of LeEco had proposed the $2 billion acquisition of Irvine-based Vizio, but both companies blamed “regulatory headwinds” for the failed agreement.
Instead, LeEco and Vizio will work together to bring Vizio products to China, the Orange County Register reported
“We continue to believe that there is great synergy between the two companies,” they said in a joint statement.
LeEco, a holding group for businesses controlled by billionaire Jia Yueting, spans electric cars and media to smartphones and TVs. It announced the agreement to acquire Vizio last July. Bloomberg News reported earlier this month the proposed deal was being held up by tighter controls on Chinese currency outflows.
Vizio, founded by William Wang as V Inc. in 2002, is known for its low- priced televisions but also produces other consumer electronics such as computers, smartphones, soundbars and tablets. Wang started four other companies and made more than $1 million before turning 30, according to the Register.
In the merger plan, LeEco and Vizio said they were looking for ways to bring Vizio products to the China market and integrate LeEco’s app and content into Vizio’s platform.
Last year, LeEco grew its presence in the U.S. and established its North American headquarters in San Jose but so far, the growth plan has faltered, the Register reported. Jia said late last year the company was struggling to raise cash after the rapid expansion of his media and internet empire. Some suppliers said LeEco was behind on payments and the company was stripped of some sports broadcasting rights after missing payments on a contract.
Earlier this month, LeEco delayed paychecks for its U.S. operation, which has suffered from key executive departures.
Vizio also has stumbled, according to the Register. In 2012, the company was sued for infringing on four Massachusetts Institute of Technology patents. MIT claimed 150 Vizio models violated patents that were issued in the 1990s and cover televisions, Blu-ray disc players, home theater and audio systems.
In a separate case, Vizio earlier this year agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle with the FTC over allegations that it secretly collected viewing data.
—City News Service
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