Samsung Nears Purchase of Germany OLED Company Novaled

Samsung Group is nearing an agreement to acquire Novaled AG, a German maker of materials used to light up smartphone and television screens, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

“We are internally reviewing plans to acquire Novaled, but no details have been set yet,” said Lee Tae Hun, a spokesman for Cheil Industries Inc., the chemical and electronic materials unit of South Korea’s largest conglomerate, in a telephone interview.

A deal to buy Novaled for more than $200 million may come as early as this week, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Samsung is pushing to gain control of organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, technology as users shift to thinner screens in smartphones and televisions. The technology offers sharper, brighter images while consuming less power. The world’s biggest television maker started selling 55-inch curved OLED TVs for about $13,500 in its home market last month.

Novaled, based in Dresden, Germany, makes organic materials and technology for OLEDs, used for televisions, mobile phones, lighting and by the solar-power industry, according to its website. Samsung, which already owns 10 percent of the company, accounted for 53 percent of Novaled’s sales in 2011, according to a May 2012 filing for an initial public offering by the German company.

IPO Plan

Novaled, which planned to be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, never completed the IPO. Doosan Corp., whose conglomerate parent describes itself as South Korea’s oldest company, in May dropped a bid for Novaled.

Gerd Guenther, chief marketing officer for Novaled, said yesterday the company is in talks with Samsung without commenting further. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the companies were close to a deal.

Samsung Electronics Co., the flagship electronics unit of Samsung Group, on July 26 forecast 24 trillion won ($21.6 billion) in capital expenditure this year. The company will use 13 trillion won for its memory chips and 6.5 trillion won for displays, most of which will be spent on OLEDs. Samsung spent 13.8 trillion won for chips and 4.9 trillion won for displays last year.

Second-quarter operating profit at Samsung Electronics’s display division, which makes flat panels for TVs and mobile devices, jumped to 1.12 trillion won from 710 billion won a year earlier, the company said last week.

Novaled’s main investors include Omnes Capital, Second TechnoStart Ventures Fonds GmbH & Co. KG, TechFund Europe Management S.A.S., eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners AG and Samsung Venture Investment Corporation, according to its website.