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    Vertu Sold to Chinese Firm, May Start Making Secure Luxury Smartphones

    Swedish private equity group EQT has announced that it has sold the luxury smartphone manufacturer Vertu to Hong Kong-based Godin Holdings and other private investors. Neither of the parties shared the financial details of the deal. The chief executive of Vertu, Massimiliano Pogliani, in the meanwhile has reportedly stepped down from his position. Vertu has grown to become a popular name in the world of luxury products. The British company manufactures hand-crafted luxury smartphones and its accessories made of precious metals, gems, and leather casings. And it seems that under the realm of its new owner, it will continue to do that. As Engadget points out however, Godin Holdings is actually the shell company for Godin Cyberspace Security Technology (translated), which is developing a secure smartphone operating system called GOS. This indicates that Vertu may soon sell privacy-focused luxury smartphones, taking on other, less premium contenders in the field like Silent Circle, BlackBerry, and Sikur. Vertu currently sells Android-powered handsets. It launched the Vertu Signature Touch earlier this year. Before 2013, the company shipped handsets with the Symbian mobile operating system. EQT had purchased Vertu from Nokia in 2012 for reportedly more than $200 million. The company has always aimed at the rich audience. "We believe Vertu is operationally stronger today with a leading position in the luxury mobile phone market. VERTU is now ready to take the next step in its development together with a new owner," said Caspar Callerström, Partner at EQT Partners AB, Investment Advisor to EQT VI. Financial Times is reporting that Massimiliano Pogliani has stepped down from his position. He said it was "an appropriate time to pass on the baton of leadership to a new team." The sudden sell-off of the company may have something do with this.

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