Huawei would consider snapping up Nokia, which could help it boost its smartphone gains in Europe and the U.S., a company executive said on Tuesday.
According to the Financial Times of London (paywall), Richard Yu, chairman of Huawei's consumer business group, said at the launch of its latest smartphone offering, the Ascend P6, in London: "We are considering these sorts of acquisitions; maybe the combination has some synergies but depends on the willingness of Nokia."
"We are open minded," Yu told reporters.
Nokia would have to be a willing participant in a buyout discussion, but its remains mum on whether or not its even in discussions with Huawei, or any other company for that matter. A Nokia spokesperson said the company "does not comment on market speculation."
Or, should Huawei consider a hostile takeover, it could bypass the need for the Chinese phone maker to deal with the pesky problem of Nokia's stubborn management. Nokia shareholders are getting twitchy over the company's Windows Phone strategy — ergo, it's entire strategy moving forward. If Huawei goes straight to Nokia shareholders, they could take the offer and run while the Finnish phone maker is still afloat.
Currently, Huawei has a burgeoning base of users in China, taking the third slot in the Chinese volume shipment space behind Samsung and Apple, but it wants to move away from feature phones into the smartphone space. And no better candidate than ailing smartphone maker Nokia, which has its range of high-quality Lumia smartphones that just aren't selling as well as they could be.
Based on comments to the London-based publication, Yu hinted that should Nokia succumb to a buyout deal, Huawei might ditch Windows Phone altogether in favor of "free" Android.
It comes after at least a year of speculation on who might buy Nokia. From Intel to Microsoft, even Lenovo at one point, based on comments made by Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop that he is sticking to his guns, at least with its Windows Phone strategy. Whether or not that extends to being bailed out by another company remains unclear.
BlackBerry ($BBRY) was also up by 4 percent on the news, considering the firm has yet to pick itself up from the floor of the boxing ring, after having ten bells kicked out of it by the rival smartphone market, and could also be a suitable acquisition target for Huawei.
We've put in questions to Huawei but did not hear back at the time of writing.