Loewe AG (LOE) climbed the most since it started trading in Frankfurt in 1999 after AppleInsider reported that Apple Inc. (AAPL) offered to purchase the German television maker for 87.3 million euros ($112 million).
Loewe, based in Kronach, rose as much as 38 percent to 6.25 euros, and was up 24 percent as of 1:59 p.m., giving it a market value of 73 million euros. A deal may be announced internally before May 18, AppleInsider reported May 12, citing an unidentified person familiar with the talks.
The TV company, founded by brothers Siegmund and David Ludwig Loewe, has about 1,000 employees. It has sought to establish itself as a premium brand in home-entertainment with its minimalist design. First-quarter sales rose 8 percent to 66.6 million euros, helped by a 32 percent jump in revenue from its audio and DVD products, including the Loewe Audiodesign solutions, Loewe said this month.
Loewe’s premium brand may “be of interest for Apple, which is said to prepare a launch of an Apple television set,” Thomas Maul, an analyst at DZ Bank AG in Frankfurt, wrote in a note. There is a “low likelihood” of a bid because of Loewe´s small size and “regional focus on saturated European markets,” he said.
Loewe “does not want to take part in these rumors,” spokesman Roland Raithel said in an e-mailed statement. Yesterday, Deutsche Presse-Agentur cited an unidentified Loewe spokesman as saying “there is no truth” to the report.
Alan Hely, a spokesman for Apple in London, said the Cupertino, California-based company doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.
Loewe increased its market share by value for liquid- crystal display TVs in Europe to 4.5 percent in the first quarter from 3 percent in 2011, it said this month.
The market for large-screen, LCD TVs priced above 1,500 euros offers “good opportunities” in the medium term, Loewe said, adding that in 2012 it expects growth in sales and a “significant” improvement in earnings.
Sharp Corp. (6753), Japan’s largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, has a stake of about 29 percent in Loewe, according to the German company’s 2011 annual report. Miyuki Nakayana, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman for Sharp, declined to comment.
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