Blog Post

Huawei Cancels Auction For Its Mobile-Devices Unit; Cites Economy

China’s Huawei Technologies is canceling the sale of a major stake in its mobile-devices unit after only two bidders submitted offers, the WSJ reported. The lack of interest is an example of how the credit crisis is affecting private equity in Asia. Huawei is able to postpone the auction because it didn’t need the cash, but was interested in selling part of its handset division to a U.S.-based firm in order to gain some capital and momentum for entering the North American cellphone market. At initial bids of around $4 billion, it would have marked one of the biggest private-equity deals in China. But the two bidders — Bain Capital Partners and Silver Lake — didn’t submit offers at the valuation Huawei wanted. Huawei said in a statement: “While international investors exhibited strong interest in the business, Huawei believes that given current global market conditions and prevailing economic uncertainty the interests of the company are best served by postponing the sale process.” The business “will continue to fund its expansion plans from operating cash flow, and Huawei remains fully committed to the business.” This may not bode well for Motorola (NYSE: MOT), which is also trying to sell its struggling handset business.