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Samsung sells off shares in technology firms

The South Korean tech giant also sold shares in Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASLM and U.S. hard drive-maker Seagate, it said in a statement.

Samsung — the world’s top smart-phone maker which also manufactures memory chips, TVs and home appliances — has for years bought shares in other tech firms in semiconductor or display panel industries.

“It was aimed at focusing on our core business by efficiently managing the investments made in the past in line with changes in business environments,” Samsung said.

The news of the sales came as the firm is mired in a major recall of its flagship smartphone over a series of battery explosions.

The global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone raised alarm among air carriers and aviation safety authorities worldwide that banned the device on flights.

Samsung sold off half of a 3-percent stake it held in ASML, and its entire stakes in the other three companies for “efficient management of assets,” it said.

It had held a 4.5-percent stake in Rambus, 0.7 percent of Sharp and a 4.2-percent stake in Seagate.

Yonhap news agency estimated the value to be about 1 trillion won (US$890 million), including 600 billion won from the sale of the ASML shares. Samsung and its sister firms have in recent years divested from non-core operations as the parent Samsung Group sought to streamline business amid a generational power transfer in the founding Lee family.

The group’s current chairman Lee Kun-Hee has been bedridden since suffering a heart attack in 2014 with his son, J.Y. Lee, widely believed to take over.

The junior Lee, currently the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, was nominated last week by the firm’s board as a new board member.