British phone maker Vertu has long been considered unique because it designs and makes all of its devices on site at a small plant in the Hampshire countryside. Now the luxury tech company has been snapped up by exiled Turkish businessman Hakan Uzan for £50 million ($60 million), the Telegraph reported Monday. Vertu is known for making phones with sapphire screens, titanium frames and leather cladding that can cost up to £40,000 apiece. Included in the deal is a concierge on speed dial.
The company was created by Nokia in the 1990s, but was sold off in 2012 and subsequently changed hands multiple times. Now it's in the hands of Baferton Ltd., a company owned by Uzan, who has endured legal wranglings with Nokia, Motorola and President Donald Trump. Uzan's family has opposed Turkey's president, Recep Erdogan, and have been exiled from the country since 2009. The family received political asylum in France, but its whereabouts are unknown.
"Vertu is a powerful brand with an acknowledged market niche," a spokesman for Uzan told the Telegraph. "I look forward to working with the team and providing the investment to enable Vertu to realise its full potential." Baferton Ltd could not immediately be reached for additional comment. Katie Collins / cnet.com
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07