Linksys is getting a new owner, barring any regulatory roadblocks that might pop up. That's because Foxconn, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision, signed a definitive agreement to acquire Belkin for $866 million, the company announced (opens in new tab).
Assuming the deal goes through, this will not be the first time that Linksys has changed hands. The brand's roots trace back to 1988 when it was founded as a mom-and-pop startup in a garage in Irving, California. It grew to become a major player and producer of routers and switches. In 2003, Cisco acquired Linksys for $500 million, then sold the brand in 2013 to Belkin, along with its home networking division.
Belkin and its brands, which also include Wemo and Phyn, will continue to operate as a subsidiary of Foxconn, meaning you will still see products marketed and sold with the Linksys label.
"This move will accelerate our vision of delivering technology that makes the lives of people around the world better, more convenient, and more fulfilling. I am thrilled to take our brand portfolio of Belkin, Linksys, Wemo and Phyn to new heights," said Chet Pipkin, CEO and founder, Belkin International. "We see significant synergies with FIT, including leveraging its world-class manufacturing capability to enhance Belkin’s operating efficiency and competitiveness. The transaction also grants us access to more resources to invest in our people and to aggressively pursue opportunities in the marketplace."
It's an interesting move for Foxconn. According to The Verge, half of Foxconn's sales are said to come from Apple. Foxconn is a major contract manufacturer of iPhones and other products, along with various gadgets from other companies. By acquiring Belkin, it shifts part of its business from a manufacturing partner to an owner of some major consumer brands. While not without its risks, the move could be seen as a safety net of sorts, making Foxconn less reliant on Apple.
We will have to wait and see how this ultimately affects consumers. As it pertains to Linksys, the company has been very active in the high-end router space. Some of its models are specifically aimed at gamers, such as its WRT32X AC3200 (opens in new tab), which Linksys pitches as "the first router purpose-built to prioritize gaming."