Super-luxury phone maker Vertu shuts down unable to pay its bills

Super-luxury phone maker Vertu shuts down unable to pay its bills
A couple of weeks ago, controversy stirred around UK-based luxury smartphone maker Vertu and its transfer of ownership. Its old owner — Hong Kong hedge fund manager Gary Chen — claimed that he still hasn't received the £50 million ($61 million) he was supposed to get for selling the company to businessman Hakan Uzan back in March. The latter, on the other hand, claimed that his plans to invest £1.9 million ($2.46 million) in the business and get it back on its feet crumbled when he found out that Vertu has £128 million ($165.5 million) in unpaid bills, salaries, and debts. Ouch! Both sides threatened to sue each other and the fate of about 200 workers was hanging in the balance.

Now, the inevitable has happened and Vertu has gone into liquidation, the 200 employes now left jobless. It is not known if the company managed to pay its bills, but an external spokesman for the firm said they aren't being paid anymore, so it's possible that at least some salaries have been left hanging. Our own attempts to get in touch with Vertu's PR representatives have gone fruitless, as their emails have been inactive for the past few weeks.

Owner Hakan Uzan will retain the brand, technology, and licenses, but we don't see Vertu popping up for a resurrection run anytime soon. The company tried to sell super-premium handsets and unbelievable prices, but was essentially beat at its own game by 3rd party jewelers who make gold- and jewel-plated iPhones and Galaxies — phones that have the expensive look and heavy recognizability to boot.

And that makes sense. For the super-premium brand Vertu wanted to be, it was quite light on marketing. If you drop $10k on a handset, you'd like for others to know that when they see it on your coffee table, right?


source: BBC

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17 Comments

1. dubaiboy78

Posts: 446; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

RIP Vertu!

2. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1175; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

I had genuinely hoped to own one of their phones at some point, the Ti was one of my favourites, very sad to see them go.

10. foreverNOOB

Posts: 160; Member since: Jul 07, 2017

Me too, very sad to see them died like this. And this mean i just sank my hard earned 6,800$ for a soon to be dead product because i just bought a used in mint condition New Signature Touch from my friend to be my 26 YO birthday present last November. T_T

11. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

So you splashed 6,800 bucks for a Vertu phone... I dig you, man. lol :)

15. foreverNOOB

Posts: 160; Member since: Jul 07, 2017

Actually I just want to know the feeling of owned a 10k bucks phone and now this happened! That's too soon! At least, its will turn out to be a great collectible! Ps.Sorry for my poor grammar skill.

3. dimas

Posts: 3363; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Their marketing group was not that strong. They're selling pricey phones and they hide in tech articles? 90% of rich people around the world don't read blogs because they have money to go to expensive places.

5. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 729; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

Or buy lots of cars, lots that are exquisitely beautiful yet expensive, or even build a lot of buildings for their own uses. They can just buy some smartphones that doesn't exceed the $1,500 budget. And they would still have a lot of cash to use from.

8. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1175; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Are you aware of the fact that Vertu held exquisite events and showcases where they invited celebrities and other high value clients, yes? At some point, Seal, the music artist was a brand ambassador along with Michelle Yeoh. So no, they did not hide in tech articles. They were visible to their demographic. Clearly there is a lot more to this than we see, sounds like there was mismanagement of money in the company.

4. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

Hmd should have taken over the brand and base the models on their own.

6. LiveFaith

Posts: 474; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Not a bad business concept. But, when elitists have to pay $10K for 2 year old tech, then expect difficulty. They really needed to create a liason with a secondary player like LG, Sony, or one of the Chinese mfrs. They could have paid them a premium for cutting edge tech and or allowed them to piggyback their brand on the device etc. It appeared that Vertu was sort of "going it alone" with it's own R&D and a used parts bin. Hard to get any buzz that way. Had the devices been current with iPhone, then they may have gotten some traction in the premium (jewelry/ fashion) segment IMO. I still think this market is open for someone.

7. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

About time! RIP Vertu.

9. foreverNOOB

Posts: 160; Member since: Jul 07, 2017

It must be that Crapnese firm that sink Vertu. Why? Just look at the time when Private EQT sold Vertu to that Crapnese company, Vertu still worth almost 200 million dollars back then. If Private EQT not handover Vertu to that sh*t, Vertu may be able to survive.

12. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

About time, selling these overpriced, whack @$$ phones...

13. Luuthian

Posts: 332; Member since: Sep 09, 2011

Not really sad to see them go. Asking $7000 for a device running 2 year old Android with barely any ram or processing power? No thanks

14. matistight

Posts: 986; Member since: May 13, 2009

This is what happens when you launch a $5k+ phone in 2016 (or 2017 for that matter) with 2013 specs.

16. lallolu

Posts: 732; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

Vertu phones are blinged up but with mid range specs. I can imagine that the user experience is not great. After paying all the money, one expects a top class user experience.

17. oyalinkaya

Posts: 29; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

Uzan boys and their enterprising skills... Don't expect the brand to revive for a very long time...

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