Apple TV rumor mill makes millions as iTV ‘confirmed’

Apple may not be buying a high-design German home entertainment device maker, but that doesn’t mean investors in the rumoured target company won’t make a killing – and it doesn’t mean they won’t still have a part to play in Apple’s iTV.

This is a classic weekend story conundrum…

  • In the early hours of Sunday morning, AppleInsider reported an anonymous source as saying Apple has offered €87.3 million ($112 million) for Kronach-based Loewe, which makes sleek TV sets and speakers.
  • By Sunday morning, a Loewe spokesperson quoted by German press (Heise Online) said there was “absolutely nothing to it”.

But the apparent rebuttal didn’t gain as much pick-up as the excited speculation about the sexy products Apple might be buying.

Net effect: When German markets opened on Monday morning, shares in publicly-traded Loewe rocketed by around 25 percent.

That pushed Loewe’s market cap to over €77 million ($99 million) by mid-morning – up from what had been €59.1 million before the rumours, and not far off Apple’s rumoured offer price.

And the price kept rising even after traders had a chance to read the apparent denial over their morning coffee.

What we do know is…

  • Loewe in 2011 made a €10.5 million loss on €274 million revenue.
  • Its largest shareholder is Sharp, with almost 30 percent.
  • Sharp has formed a joint venture with Apple’s assembly contractor Foxconn.

Ahead of the weekend, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou was reported as confirming production of the forthcoming set…

China Daily: “Gou said Foxconn is making preparations for iTV … although development or manufacturing has yet to begin.

“iTV reportedly features an aluminum construction, Siri, and FaceTime video calling

“Foxconn’s recent 50-50 joint venture factory with Sharp in Japan is one of the preparations made for the new device, Gou added.”

Update: Foxconn, backtracking, makes a denial on behalf of its CEO (via The Next Web):

“In remarks at a media briefing during the groundbreaking of Foxconn’s new China headquarters in Shanghai on May 10, Terry Gou, Foxconn’s Chief Executive Officer, made it very clear that he would neither confirm nor speculate about Foxconn’s involvement in the production of any product for any customer because Foxconn’s policy is not to comment on any customers or their products.

“At no time did he confirm that Foxconn was in development or manufacturing stages for any product for any of its customers.  He did say that  Foxconn is always prepared to meet the manufacturing needs of customers should they determine that they wish to work with Foxconn in the production of any of their products.   Any reports that Foxconn confirmed that it is preparing to produce a specific product for any customer are not accurate.”

AppleInsider had reported Loewe would decide on a deal or otherwise by May 18.