Samsung Elbows Apple With Stake in Gorilla Glass Maker Corning
Samsung has inked a deal that should ensure it a plentiful supply of liquid crystal display glass through the next decade.
Under an agreement announced Tuesday, Samsung will hand over to Corning its 43 percent stake in Samsung Corning Precision Materials, an LCD glass joint venture the two companies operate in Korea. In return, it will receive $1.9 billion in convertible preferred shares in the Gorilla Glass maker. Samsung has also agreed to invest another $400 million in preferred shares of Corning. While those shares aren’t convertible for seven years, they effectively give Samsung a 7.4 percent stake in Corning, making it the company’s largest shareholder.
Why does such a circuitous display deal matter? Well, Corning happens to produce glass for a number of consumer electronics companies, including Apple — Samsung’s archrival in the mobile space. While the two companies didn’t provide many details on the inner workings of their new relationship, they did say that it will improve “collaborations on strategic product development and commercialization initiatives.” That may prove to be quite advantageous to Samsung as it looks for new ways to differentiate its smartphones and tablets from Apple’s.
Corning is doing all manner of incredible stuff with glass these days. Having early and easy access to such innovations could be a real boon for Samsung, particularly if it’s able to field products based on them before competitors can.