HTC denies rumors of company sale, launches share buyback plan

HTC denied rumors that the company is planning to sell itself, and it launched a share buyback plan aimed at shoring up its stock price as it continues to try to turn its business around.

The rumors of a company sale were sparked by EE Times' Chinese analyst Alice Sun, who indicated HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang had initiated plans to put the company up for sale.

"Based on recent inquiries related to rumors that HTC is looking to sell the company, we want to confirm that those rumors are untrue," the company said in a statement to Engadget. "HTC is committed to innovation and will continue to deliver new designs and products to consumers worldwide. We appreciate the support and affirmation of our customers and have new initiatives underway to further build our global presence and a full resurgence of the HTC brand."

HTC's shares also surged by the daily limit of 7 percent, the company's biggest gain since Nov. 14, 2011, after it disclosed the share buyback plan. The company aims to buy back 15 million shares between around $4.67 and $9.68 apiece from Aug. 5 to Oct. 4, in a program that could be worth up to $145 million, according to Bloomberg. HTC's shares have fallen almost 90 percent since they peaked in 2010, as the company's smartphone sales have fallen amid more intense competition from Samsung Electronics, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Huawei, ZTE and others.

"The selloff on HTC may be eased. However, the fundamentals remain fragile," Diana Wu, an analyst at Capital Securities, told the Wall Street Journal.

HTC warned last week that it could post an operating loss for the third quarter, which would be its first since it became a public company in 2002. The smartphone maker also said it will release more mid-tier products to help improve its business.

Meanwhile, images leaked online of the purported HTC One Max, the rumored phablet variant of the company's flagship One smartphone. According to Taiwanese site ePrice, the gadget will have a 5.9-inch screen, larger battery and a 2.3 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 800 processor. The device is rumored to debut in September.

HTC recently introduced the One mini, a smaller version of its flagship One smartphone, which the company hopes will help extend the One brand by reaching a wider range of consumers. HTC has said the One mini will be available in "select markets" starting in August and rolled out globally in September, but the company did not reveal pricing, specific availability or which U.S. carriers will offer the One mini.

For more:
- see this Engadget article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this The Verge article

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