For the past four months I have been saying that Amazon was in the market to buy Samsung’s screen tech company Liquavista, and today I do believe the rumors have come true.
New filings from the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce reveal that Samsung no longer owns Liquavista. As of 29 April, the new owner is listed as a faceless LLC registered out of Delaware.
That company, Haverl LLC, has no presence online or products on the market. In fact, the only noteworthy detail that I have found is that Haverl LLC leads to a holding company called CSC.
This pattern of a faceless LLC leading to a holding company should be familiar; it’s the same trick that Amazon used to hide their FCC filings last year.
Update: Amazon has confirmed the news:
We are always looking for new technologies we may be able to incorporate into our products over the long term. The Liquavista team shares our passion for invention and is creating exciting new technologies with a lot of potential. It’s still early days, but we’re excited about the possibilities and we look forward to working with Liquavista to develop these displays.
This deal hasn’t been announced just yet by any of the parties involved, so I don’t have any info on the price paid. But past rumors indicated that Samsung was willing to sell Liquavista for under $100 million. That is probably less than Samsung has invested in the company since buying it in early 2011, but even if they took a loss this is a good deal for Samsung.
Samsung’s hottest gadgetry at the moment are their smartphones and tablets. Those devices have to stay ahead of a tight market, so they use cutting-edge high quality and high resolution screens. It’s been pretty clear for a while now that Liquavista’s electrowetting screen tech won’t be able to achieve the same high quality as the screens that Samsung is using now, so it makes sense that Samsung would want to cut their losses.
Liquavista got its start way back when battery life was still a serious issue for mobile devices. This was one of a number of screen technologies that traded screen quality for battery life, but now that battery life is not such a serious problem for most devices there isn’t really much of a market for Liquavista’s screens.
The only market left for Liquavista screens is the ereader market, and I’m pretty sure that is why Amazon bought Liquavista.