HTC Suspends Trading As Google Acquisition Buzz Reaches A Fevered Pitch

There have been rumors that Google is considering a buyout of HTC, a longtime supporter of the company's Android operating system for mobile device. Those rumors are picking up steam on the heels of the Taiwanese Stock Exchange (TWSE) announcing plans to halt trading in share of HTC "pending the release of material information." Reading between the lines, it seems TWSE wants HTC and Google to either confirm or deny the rumors.

"The company will apply for resumption of trading after the release of material information," TWSE stated, noting that the temporary halt of trading in HTC shares will begin tomorrow, September 21.

HTC Phone

To be clear, this is not a confirmation that Google is going to buy HTC, in part or in whole. However, it is a possible scenario, and one that would not be all that surprising. Google has often leaned on HTC to produce smartphones for the company, which would then be sold to consumers under its own brand. HTC is also a big supporter of Android—the company released the first-ever Android device, the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1) nine years ago.

This would be a good thing for HTC, too. The mobile device maker has fallen on hard times after enjoying record revenue and profits during the early days of Android. Most of 2011 was especially kind to HTC. After announcing record profits in the second quarter in 2011, the company kept the momentum going into Q3 with a $624 million profit on $4.5 billion in revenue, which represented a 68 percent increase over the same quarter a year prior.

As time went on, HTC faced increasing competition from other smartphone makers. Samsung and Apple would eventually emerge as the two biggest players, while HTC struggled to find solid footing. HTC also showed signs of desperation—at one point, it put out a cheesy rap video that hurled insults at the competition. Part of it went like this:
More than a few clowns stole what we originated,
We own the universe, your Galaxy is overrated.
It took you copycats six times to get it right,
My One M8 is far too great, you'll never touch this light.

For Google, acquiring HTC would give it a recognizable brand and experienced company in Android hardware. Google could also leverage HTC's efforts in virtual reality, a field that Google has dipped its toes into but has yet to jump in the deep end.

Investors may be anticipating a buyout, as Google's share price is up more than $11 today, albeit that works out to just over 1 percent.