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Luxury Phone Maker Vertu Sells Its Business To A Turkish Exile

By Monica U Santos , Mar 14, 2017 07:30 AM EDT
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Vertu, a British manufacturer, and luxury smartphone maker has been bought by a company named as Baferton. It was a firm registered in Cyprus owned by Hakan Uzan, a Turkish exile. Uzan has been involved in several legal controversies and disagreements related to other well-known names such as Nokia, Motorola, and Donald Trump as well.

Vertu: Background Of The Luxury Phone Maker

Vertu was created and established by Finnish mobile-phone manufacturer Nokia in 1998 which goal is to offer luxury devices. In October 2012, Vertu was sold to a private equity organization EQT VI for an undefined amount of money but retained a 10 percent share. By the end of 2013, Vertu had an approximately 350,000 customers and their luxury phones were on sale in more than 500 retail outlets. In 2015, Vertu was then sold to Godin Holdings, a Chinese investment company, before Uzan finally purchased the smartphone manufacturer.

Vertu Sells Its Business To Baferton

Today, according to Engadget, the luxury phone brand has been bought by the company owned by Uzan, the Baferton. Uzan paid around £50 million or $61 million to successfully acquire the business from its Chinese owners Godin Holdings. This move puts Vertu into the guidance of a family whose relationship with Nokia is disturbing.

The Uzan family took out loans from both Nokia and Motorola in order to form a Turkish carrier which named as Telsim. While Telsim would eventually become Vodafone's backbone business in Turkey, speculations and allegations flew that the family had used company funds for their personal luxuries. Lawsuits released by Nokia and Motorola put the Uzan family on the hook for billions of dollars and the Politics of Turkey move to seize assets prompted the members of the family to go into exile.

In particular, Hakan Uzan was found in disgrace on the court after not attending a hearing in relation to the accusation of fraud, but he successfully appealed the sentence. In regards to why is Uzan buying Vertu is not very clear. According to Telegraph, he's not saying much about the reason for buying Vertu but he believes that the firm represents a "powerful brand with an acknowledged market niche." He also claimed that he'll provide the cash money to help the company reach its "full potential."

 

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