Vertu, the British firm that manufactures luxury smartphones costing up to $52,000, is closing down. The news comes just four months after the company was purchased by businessman Murat Hakan Uzan, who was unable to save it from bankruptcy.
Vertu has been struggling for some time as the world’s wealthiest ditch luxury handsets coated in diamonds, gold, and alligator skin in favor of the iPhone. It has been sold and re-sold by a number of investment firms in recent years before ending up in the hands of Uzan, an exiled Turkish entrepreneur, back in March.
Uzan offered £1.9 million (approx. $2.4 million) to settle Vertu’s £128 million debt and rescue it from bankruptcy, but that wasn’t enough to appease the company’s creditors. As a result, Vertu’s manufacturing arm is closing down, but Uzan will retain its brand, technology, and design licenses.
Uzan invested $40 million in Chinese manufacturer TCL Communication just last month. The deal would have allowed Vertu to use TCL technologies in future smartphones. According to a report from The Financial Times, sources familiar with Uzan’s plans say he intends to resurrect the company and deliver more Vertu handsets in the future.
Sadly, this means the Vertu staff based at its manufacturing facility in Hampshire are now out of a job. The company has also suspended its concierge service, which gave Vertu handset owners 24-hour support — but it promises that it’s coming back later this year.
“We have taken the difficult decision to suspend our current Vertu services and focus on developing a completely new, next generation suite of services, exclusively for our customers,” reads a notice on its website. “We plan to launch these new services from September 2017 and update this page closer to the launch with further information.”