NEC to sell OLED business to Samsung SDI

NEC has agreed to sell its OLED (organic light emitting diode) business to Samsung SDI Co., it said last Friday.

The two companies formed a joint venture, Samsung NEC Mobile Display Co. Ltd. in January 2001 to work on OLED technology and the deal announced Friday will see Samsung SDI purchase NEC's 49 percent stake in the company for ¥8.5 billion (US$77.3 million).

OLED is viewed as one of the most promising technologies for next-generation displays and many electronics companies have been working on producing such displays. To date, OLEDs have been used in small-size displays for products such as cellular telephones and car entertainment systems. However their brightness, low power consumption and ability to show fast-moving images without distortion have many companies working towards larger displays for televisions and similar products.

One-year ago the joint venture licensed OLED patents from Eastman Kodak Co., a leader in the technology, as part of its plan to begin manufacturing cellular telephone screens based on the technology.

The sale is the second in February by NEC of a display-related business. Earlier this month it announced plans to sell its Plasma Display Panel (PDP) business to Pioneer Corp. for around ¥40 billion. NEC has been gradually disposing of businesses and ventures seen as not relevant to its core computing and networking markets in an attempt to reinvigorate the company.

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Martyn Williams

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