The South Korean electronics giant Samsung took a $12bn (£7.6bn) body-blow yesterday as investors dumped its shares in the wake of its defeat by rival Apple in a bitter US patent row, which could lead to some of its models being banned.
Samsung – ordered to pay $1.05bn in damages after a California jury found it had copied features of Apple's iPhone and iPad – saw its shares slump 7.5 per cent in their biggest one-day fall for more than four years.
The company plans to appeal against the decision after the court found it had infringed six out of seven of Apple's patents, but investors took fright at the threat of an outright sales ban on Samsung's key products. Almost 1.3 million shares changed hands. In contrast, Apple's shares hit an all-time high in New York.
The biggest lingering concern for Samsung remains whether its best-selling Galaxy S3 – not a subject of the case – will also be targeted by Apple. The model is the company's best-selling smartphone, with sales topping 10 million since its launch in May.
Last night, Apple applied for eight other models, mostly in the Galaxy S2 range, to be restricted from sale in the US. Despite yesterday's slide, Samsung's shares are still 75 per cent higher over the past year as soaring smartphone sales power record profits. Its phones and tablets now account for more than two-thirds of the group's profits.
Meanwhile, struggling Finnish mobile maker Nokia saw its shares jump 10 per cent, on hopes that the US verdict could help it to claw back some of the ground lost to Samsung and Apple. Google's Android software is used in 65 per cent of smartphones sold globally, but Nokia is the largest maker of Windows phones which use Microsoft software.