Samsung buys German OLED specialist

Samsung bought Novaled to boost its development of next-generation technology for digital displays

Samsung has bought German organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology developer Novaled, in a bet on the next-generation technology for digital displays.

The binding agreement calls for Samsung's subsidiary Cheil Industries to acquire a participation of about 50 percent in Novaled, while Samsung Electronics will buy a stake of about 40 percent. Samsung Venture Investment will retain its 10 percent stake.

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Novaled's technologies and materials are designed to improve the performance of OLEDs and other organic electronics. The Dresden company sells them to manufacturers of display products.

OLED technology, in use mostly in smartphones, promises to lower the cost of developing large TV displays while improving their quality.

The transaction pegs the value of Novaled at €260 million, including a €30 million payment, which is conditional to the attainment of certain milestones, according to the companies.

In a statement, Cheil Industries' CEO Jong-Woo Park said that "technological capacity" is a key to vendors' success in the OLED market. The Novaled acquisition "is expected to generate significant synergy in new-generation OLED materials R&D and will play a critical role in enhancing Cheil Industries' market position as a global leader in electronic materials," he said.

Novaled was founded in 2001 and generated €26 million in revenue last year. It has more than 500 OLED-related patents that have been granted or are pending.

The transaction is subject to approval from regulatory authorities.

Last year, Novaled struck a licensing and purchasing agreement with Samsung Mobile Display for the use of Novaled's OLED materials in Samsung's next generation of mobile AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) devices.

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