Today at an event in Los Angeles, Vizio announced that it will sell to China's LeEco (formerly LeTV) for $2 billion. Don't expect to see much change on store shelves, as the company plans to continue operating under the Vizio name as a wholly-owned subsidiary. The exception to this is its viewer data business Inscape -- we learned about it last year when Vizio filed plans for a now-unnecessary IPO -- which will spin off and operate as a separate privately-owned company controlled by Vizio founder William Wang. Wang will own 51 percent of Inscape, with the rest going to LeEco attached to a 10 year license for the technology, which monitors what people are actually watching on their TV to help with things like targeted advertising.
Wang started Vizio fourteen years ago and rapidly built it into one of the largest TV companies by selling flat panel displays at a lower price than the competition. Now LeEco's acquisition should help it gain a foothold in the US market, as it also develops products in other areas like electric vehicles and smartphones.
LeEco announced plans to invest heavily in R&D for the division, while Vizio CTO Matt McRae promised to continue the company's strategy of delivering connected, multiscreen technology at affordable prices. The combination brings together the largest TV brand in China with the second largest one in the US, and it should be interesting to see what that combined might can do. The two expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter of this year.