Samsung confirms deal to buy QD Vision

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Samsung confirms deal to buy QD Vision

Samsung Electronics said Wednesday that it would acquire QD Vision, an American company specializing in quantum dot technology for consumer displays, as the Korean conglomerate looks to solidify its leadership in the premium TV segment with its quantum dot televisions.

Jung Chil-hee, head of Samsung’s Advanced Institute of Technology, confirmed the plan to reporters, though the company refused to reveal the terms of the deal. Observers are valuing the deal at around $70 million.

QD Vision was founded in 2004 by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company owns more than 250 patents, many of which are quantum dot-related. After the acquisition is complete, in the next two weeks at the latest, all the patents will go to Samsung.

The QD Vision acquisition marks Samsung’s third deal this month after Harman and NewNet. The tech giant has gone on a global shopping spree this year with its massive 77 trillion won ($65.25 billion) in cash reserves.

“Samsung is going through a very critical period that will determine whether it will make a quantum leap from its current position or get stuck in the winner’s curse,” said Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at IBK Investment and Securities.

The global premium TV market is being led by two main technologies: quantum dot and organic light-emitting diode, or OLED. Quantum dots refer to minute crystals that produce better colors than older LED lights and filters, whereas OLED is known for its quality color saturation and deep blacks.

Samsung, the world’s No. 1 TV producer, has been leading the market in high-end super-ultra high-definition, or SUHD, TVs that have applied quantum dots. Its acquisition of QD Vision raises speculation that Samsung may advance the date for the release of its much-anticipated QLED TV, an upgrade from its SUHD TV, which shows colors in a manner similar to that of current LCDs but can express a wider color range than OLED counterparts.

Samsung is expected to unveil the first QLED TV at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January with wide speculation that the company will commercialize the product in three years.

Rival LG is currently dominant in OLED TVs, even though the sales volume of the TV type currently stands at a fourth that of quantum dot TVs. But the OLED faction has been gaining traction after big players like Panasonic, Philips and Sony jumped on the bandwagon for OLED TVs.

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