Luxury phone brand Vertu has had an interesting existence thus far. The company started off as a British brand, originally established in 1998 by one-time Finnish phone maker Nokia as its luxury arm. In 2012, with Android gaining prominence as the world’s most-preferred mobile operating system, Vertu’s parent company Nokia itself started losing money with the drastic drop in demand for smartphones based on its Symbian platform. Looking to streamline its operations, Nokia sold off Vertu to private equity group EQT VI, but the Finnish telecom equipment major continued to retain a 10% share in the company. Latest reports however claim that the brand has now been sold off to a consortium of institutional investors, primary amongst whom seem to be a Hong Kong-based entity called Godin Holdings.
With the deal coming through, the company’s current CEO, Mr. Massimiliano Pogliani will reportedly be resigning from his position with immediate effect, after having led the company for a period of three years. The acquisition however, will not change the day-to-day functioning of the company – at least for now – and the 450-odd British staff will continue to handcraft the exorbitantly-priced devices at the company’s factory in Hampshire. The company’s phones of course, are known more for their overly generous use of precious stones and premium leather than for performance, and the one criticism often labelled at the company by the tech savvy, is the lack of premium hardware on the inside, which is in stark contrast to the exceptionally high-end materials on the outside.
Vertu however, looked to change that with the V06 smartphone it launched earlier in the year, which carried a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 810 chipset along with 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM and Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box. The company’s mainstay however, continues to be its Signature Touch range of devices, which can set you back by as much as â‚¬10,000. As for the company itself, the brand has often been criticized by various media outlets for its ostentatious display of wealth, with Wired Magazine describing the company’s phones as “tasteless trash” and British publication Financial Times describing the brand’s phones as “technologically modest”. However, the company continues to have a niche but sizable market especially in emerging economies like Russia and the Middle East.