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Samsung denies bid to buy French speaker company Focal

As Monday morning rumours go, this is an intriguing one: Reuters has picked up on a story - hotly denied - in South Korea's Financial News that Samsung is in advanced talks to take over French speaker company Focal in a deal said to be worth up to 300 billion won (£220m).

Reuters reports that talks between the two companies are believed to be "in the final stages", and Samsung hopes to complete the acquisition by the end of this year.

Samsung has flatly denied the rumour, telling Reuters: "The report from Financial News on the acquisition of the French audio equipment maker, Focal, is not true." We contacted Samsung and Focal for further comment.

A spokesperson for Samsung UK told What Hi-Fi?: "We don't comment on rumour or speculation." A day later we received a second statement: "The report on the acquisition of the French audio equipment maker, Focal, is not true."

And a similar statement was issued to us by Focal: ""We can confirm that Focal has not discussed with Samsung a potential investment, and will not make any further comment on speculation or rumours."

The speculation comes at a tricky time for Samsung, which is battling the damage done to its reputation by the problems with its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, which was withdrawn from sale when some of the devices exploded and caught fire.

Any move to acquire Focal would have significant implications for the audio industry, as Focal merged with Naim Audio in 2011 to create a pan-European hi-fi business with a combined turnover of more than £48m.

The merged company, Focal & Co, owns and manages Focal and Naim as independent brands, retaining their own philosophies and product ranges, but collaborating on research and development.

Naim has recently invested nearly £4m in its new Uniti range of all-in-one streamers.

MORE: Q&A - Naim Audio and Focal merger

Source: Reuters

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.