When reports started to come out of South Korea last November suggesting that Samsung was negotiating to buy WOLED panels (the sort used in LG Electronics’ OLED TVs) from LG Display, they were actually pretty hard to believe. Partly because Samsung had spent the past decade or so focusing exclusively on LCD TV technologies and stating quite aggressively that consumers should not buy WOLED screens because of their susceptibility to ‘screen burn’, and partly because Samsung and LG are, to put it mildly, not friends.
The news was made a bit less hard to swallow on reflection by the fact that Samsung was preparing to launch its own new variation on OLED in the shape of its Quantum Dot OLED S95B range, and the fact that LG Display’s panel supply business is distinct from the LG Electronics brand that sells LG TVs. Nonetheless, I’m hardly shocked to learn that reports out of South Korea this week show that the OLED negotiations between LG Display and Samsung have come to an abrupt stand still.
The news that talks had broken down came as part of LG Display’s earnings conference call for the second quarter of 2022. According to LG Display’s Chief Financial Officer, Kim Sung-hyun: “Our new client (Samsung Electronics) had sought to use our OLED panels. [However] While there had been some progress, the process has come to a halt at the moment.”
While Sung-hyun didn’t say why discussions had ceased, South Korean publication Korea Bizwire quotes an industry source as saying that “they couldn’t reach an agreement over the price.” Which makes we wonder if the incentive on LG Display’s side not to do Samsung a particularly great pricing deal could be pretty high.
That said, Sung-hyun’s last words on the subject were ‘at the moment’, and Korea Bizwire’s sadly anonymous industry sources also claim that LG Display and Samsung may reboot negotiations at a future date. So while we can surely now write off the possibility of any cheaper Samsung OLED TVs joining its premium QD OLED S95Bs in 2022, maybe it’s still an outside possibility for 2023. Though if so, we’ll surely need to be hearing news of resumed conversations pretty soon. Forbes