May 24, 2018

Android creator may sell Essential, scraps production of new phone

Andy Rubin checks his Android smartphone. Photo: Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images

Essential Products Inc., the startup of Android creator Andy Rubin, has cancelled production of its latest phone and is considering selling itself, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: Rubin had raised a ton of money but sales of its first phone were sluggish.

The details: Essential has reportedly commissioned Credit Suisse Group AG to broker the potential sale and "is now actively shopping itself to potential suitors," per Bloomberg. The company had been valued between $900 million to $1 billion last year, Bloomberg adds. Essential didn’t comment directly on the possible sale, but confirmed to Axios in a statement it has canceled some projects. 

“We always have multiple products in development at the same time and we embrace canceling some in favor of the ones we think will be bigger hits. We are putting all of our efforts towards our future, game-changing products, which include mobile and home products.”
— Spokesperson for Essential

The bottom line: Essential had hoped to do more than phones, but by starting with a phone, the company risked not getting beyond that. The phone market is a highly competitive business where most of the Android sales and profits go to Samsung as others fight for scraps.

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.