NEC to exit smartphone business after failed deal with Lenovo-Nikkei

July 17 Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:21pm EDT

July 17 (Reuters) - Japan's NEC Corp plans to exit its loss-making smartphone business after a deal with Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd failed to materialize, the Nikkei reported.

The two companies have a partnership in the personal computers business and NEC was in talks with Lenovo for a deal for its smartphones operations since late 2012, the Japanese daily reported.

The Japanese electronics company had offered Lenovo a majority stake in NEC Casio Mobile Communications Ltd, its subsidiary that makes smartphones. Casio Computer Co and Hitachi Ltd are among NEC Casio's current investors.

NEC, once a market leader in the smartphones business in Japan, currently has a market share of about 5 percent, the business daily said.

The Japanese company will now focus on conventional handsets and plans to sell some of its mobile phone-related patents, according to the Nikkei.

NEC will reassign majority of NEC Casio employees to other group firms, the paper said.