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$2 Billion Wasn't Enough to Keep Magic Leap Afloat, So Now It Wants to Find a Buyer

A man wearing a Magic Leap AR headset during CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A man wearing a Magic Leap AR headset during CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo: Getty

After years of drumming up ridiculous hype, producing a mediocre product, and raising an absurd amount of money (a little over $2 billion, to be a little more precise), augmented-reality start-up Magic Leap is reportedly looking to sell itself. According to Bloomberg, a sale could net the company more than $10 billion—or about $8 billion more than what it has raised from investors as of April 2019.

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The company is reportedly working with an adviser to find a potential buyer or a partner that might acquire a chunk of the AR start-up. Magic Leap is reportedly trying to capture the interest of companies like Facebook and Johnson & Johnson.

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Magic Leap has already had talks with Facebook, but the social media giant didn’t want commit, according to Bloomberg. Rising tariffs and coronavirus-related production delays for its own Oculus VR headsets made the proposition of acquiring another headset brand unattractive.

Magic Leap’s consumer AR headset sales are also disappointing, to say the least. Within the first six months of its August 2018 release, the company sold only 6,000 units—94,000 shy of its goal, according to The Verge. Whether that has to do with the device launching in only six cities, its $2,300 price tag, the bold promises some say it failed to fulfill, or all of the above, the company has already shifted its focus away from the consumer market to the business sector and laid off dozens of employees at the end of 2019.

So who would want to buy Magic Leap, if not an obvious choice like Facebook? Well, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google all have designs on augmented reality hardware, but it’s unclear if any would want—or need—to take on Magic Leap in order to improve their existing devices or produce a new headset that actually lives up to the hype.

Staff Reporter, Reviews at Gizmodo. Formerly PC Gamer, Maximum PC.

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DISCUSSION

Call me crazy, but I think these products (AR and VR headsets) have been in the market long enough at this point to establish the level of demand they’re going to garner. They’re cool, they’re fun, they’re amazing, and most people don’t really give a shit about them. At any price point. They’ve got some really stellar industrial/development/design/medical applications that make them immensely compelling tools, but most people at home just want to fire up an Xbox and grab a controller.

It’s not quite 3D televisions from ~10 years ago, but it’s close.