Samsung Acquiring Stake in Chinese PEV Maker BYD

Samsung Electronics has been in talks to acquire a stake in Chinese automaker BYD, which the South Korean electronics giant says would help boost its chip business for plug-in electric vehicles.

Samsung said it has not finalized how much it would spend to buy the stake, nor how big a holding it would take in BYD. The Korea Economic Daily reported earlier on Friday that Samsung agreed to buy new shares worth 3 billion yuan ($449 million) in BYD; this investment would give Samsung a 4-percent stake in the automaker.

BYD officials in China weren’t immediately available for comment. Samsung declined to comment on the reported terms of the deal.

“We plan to discuss cooperation in various businesses going forward,” Samsung said in a statement announcing the investment.

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Chinese automaker BYD (Build Your Dreams) is best known in the U.S. for Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway $230 million investment to buy a 10 percent stake in the company. So far in the U.S., BYD has only been selling electric buses to public transit agencies.

In China, the BYD Tang sport utility and BYD Qin sedan plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have been strong sellers in the market, according to published reports. BYD only sells plug-in electric vehicles, both battery electric and plug-in hybrid.

Samsung has created a team to develop automotive-related businesses, seeking a new sector to grow revenue as the global smartphone industry has been slowing. It would be one of several global partnerships as automakers and technology companies race to develop PEVs, self-driving vehicles, internet-connected vehicles, and mobility services.

Reuters