Hot Apple gossip lifts luxury TV maker Loewe | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 14.05.2012
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Hot Apple gossip lifts luxury TV maker Loewe

Stocks in German high-end TV manufacturer Loewe surged more than 20 percent Monday, after there were reports on the Internet that Apple had made a bid for the company. Loewe has dismissed the report, for now.

According to Internet blog AppleInsider, iPhone maker Apple offered 87.3 million euros ($112 million) in a bid to acquire the German television maker.

Loewe, which is based in Kronach, reportedly requested time until Friday this week to make a decision about a possible takeover, the blog said.

However, a spokesman for the luxury TV-set manufacturer told news agency dpa that the report had "nothing to it," adding that the firm's management didn't have information about any interest on the part of Apple to "participate financially" in Loewe.

Apple's alleged offer of 87.3 million euros is much higher than Loewe's entire stock value, which was about 59 million euros on Friday's closing.

Owner of the German manufacturer, which presented the world's first fully electronic TV set in 1931, is the family of Rainer Hecker - a former Loewe CEO, who holds 15 percent in the firm.

The Japanese electronics company Sharp owns 29 percent of the shares, while 15 percent are held by the chairman of the supervisory board, Rainer Hecker, and his family. Aside from a holding of 11 percent by hard-disk manufacturer LaCie, the rest of the shares are free floating.

Apple TV

Sharp has repeatedly been named in connection with Apple's alleged drive to branch out into the television business as the next step in the California-based electronics giant's expansion.

Loewe would be a natural choice for a takeover as it has years of experience in the manufacture of high-tech TV sets, at prices which range from 1,500 to 12,000 euros.

In addition, the company has made a strong effort to network its TV sets with Apple products, enabling them to be remotely controlled with an iPhone or iPad. Also, Loewe's AirSpeaker sound system offers wireless access to music stored on Apple gadgets.

However, Loewe's 1,000 employees - all of them based in Germany - manufacture primarily for niche markets in Europe and the Middle East, and ran up a loss of 2.5 million euros in the first quarter of 2012 on the back of a 6 percent jump in sales to 66.6 million euros year-on-year.

uhe/mll (dpa, Reuters)