Bloomberg: Andy Rubin selling Essential, stopping second phone work

Android co-founder Andy Rubin may be getting out of the smartphone manufacturer he started up.

Bloomberg reports that the company is actively seeking a buyer and is looking for one with the help of Credit Suisse. The company was last valued at near $1 billion. It is said that a sale would include intellectual property, current hardware and incubating projects.

Sources say that the sequel to the company’s debut product, the Essential Phone, has has stopped development.

Rubin posted this tweet as a response:

He did not explicitly deny rumors of a sale nor did he confirm that an Essential Phone 2 was canceled.

Since the beginning, Essential has been shedding and turning over employees and senior staff, including its hardware engineering chief early this year. With limited carrier partnerships — Sprint in the United States and Telus in Canada — the PH-1 was said to have only sold as few as 20,000 units when it was initially priced at $699 (since then, the price has gone down to $450 and about 150,000 units have been sold to date). The PH-1 was panned for the performance of its camera, its touch screen and other hardware components.

Update: The Information has obtained an email from Andy Rubin sent to Essential employees saying that he is “not shutting down the company” and that “no one (including me at this moment) knows what the best thing for the company will be.”

An acquisition is one option Rubin may execute on, though for the time being, he’s working on raising more money from banks. He believes that the Bloomberg piece saying that it “will not position us well for optimizing” that process.

“I’m going to focus on winning and not whining,” Rubin wrote.

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Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.