We've seen a few rumblings from the far east this week that Samsung might be preparing to acquire HP's PC business. On Monday, DigiTimes speculated that of HP's rival vendors, Samsung was the most likely candidate for a buyout. The site argued that most other firms simply lack the funds and flexibility to undertake an operation the size of HP's PC unit.
At least one estimate suggests that HP's PC business is worth $8 billion. We're not sure if that figure is accurate, but we can assure you it wouldn't fetch chump change. As a side note, Shaw Wu, the Sterne Agee analyst who offered that price, also concluded that Samsung was the most likely buyer as it's been trying to build a PC business since the 90s.
DigiTimes' analysis was followed by a second report yesterday that claimed Samsung recently contacted Taiwanese notebook makers Pegatron Technology, Quanta Computer, and Compal Electronics to evaluate the possibility of outsourcing notebook orders. DigiTimes' sources believe that inquiry highlights Samsung's interest in expanding its footprint.
All of Samsung's notebooks are assembled at its Chinese facilties, but if it undertook HP's operations, it would require some outside help and Taiwan's notebook production efficiency is "unmatched." Quanta chimed in to say that Samsung would have a difficult time producing 50-60 million laptops annually (Samsung moves over 10 million while HP ships 40 million).
Samsung has responded to the market speculation today, claiming that it has "no intention of taking over [HP's] personal computer business." Furthermore, it's worth noting that HP hasn't exactly confirmed plans to exit the PC market yet. Invetec, another electronics maker, believes the company is simply extending a feeler and will respond accordingly.
Update: Samsung CEO Geosung Choi has responded to the rumors: "To put to rest any speculation on this issue, I would like to definitively state that Samsung Electronics will not acquire Hewlett-Packard's PC Business.
Hewlett-Packard is the global leader in the PC business with sales of 40 million units last year, while Samsung is an emerging player in the category and sold about 10 million units in 2010. Based on the significant disparity in scale with Samsung's own PC business and the complete lack of synergies, it would be both infeasible and imprudent to even consider such an acquisition."