Samsung sells nearly $1B in assets post-recall, as Galaxy Note 7 fires reported in China

ByJames Dennin

Things keep getting worse for Samsung. 

On Monday morning the electronics maker announced it would be selling off stakes in four different companies in which it's invested to "focus on its core business," following a costly recall of Galaxy Note 7 phones that began last week.

Samsung will need the cash.

Analysts estimate that the recall of 2.5 million flagship phones — which have actually exploded in several cases because of problems with the battery — could cost the company upwards of $1 billion

There's a chance that figure could now climb even higher. The Associated Press is reporting two new cases of the phones catching fire in China, which was previously thought to be unaffected: Note 7s sold in China use a different battery than the ones sold in the United States. 

Samsung said in a statement on its Chinese website that the latest fires were caused by external heating. Though the company did recall more than 1,800 phones with the faulty battery in China, those technically never made it to market and were distributed for a few consumers to test out in July and August — before the Sept. 1 release date.

But the latest fires reported in China, the world's largest smartphone market, involved the newer batch of phones, sold after Sept. 1 and believed to be safe.

Richard Drew/AP

One explanation for Samsung's spate of bad news?

Officials at Samsung reportedly rushed production of the Note 7 after hearing rumors that the iPhone 7 launch wouldn't reveal many new features — sensing an opportunity to burnish its reputation as an innovator in smartphones. 

That decision now may being costing the company: Reports began surfacing just days after its August launch that the Note 7 was catching fire during normal use, and sometimes even when the phone was simply charging. 

Samsung has also drawn backlash over its handling of the recall; as Bloomberg reported, the company has sent "mixed signals" about whether the phone is safe for consumers.

The company has begun to roll out a software patch to reduce the likelihood of the phone catching fire, leaving some users wondering whether they would still need to send back their phone after downloading the update.

Possibly to help address the confusion, on Monday Samsung released a new site where users can upload information about their phone and determine if it is safe to use.

Representatives from the Samsung said that the sales and issues with the Note 7 were unrelated.

"We'd been planning on selling off the stakes for quite some time. It has nothing to do with the Note 7 exchange program," representatives from Samsung said in an emailed statement to Mic. 

September 20th, 2016, 9:24 a.m.: This story has been updated to include a statement from Samsung.