Flex Ltd. (previously known as Flextronics International Ltd. or Flextronics) is an American multinational technological manufacturer. It is the third largest global electronics manufacturing services (EMS), original design manufacturer (ODM) company by revenue, behind only Taiwan's Pegatron to original equipment manufacturers.
The corporate headquarters are located in Singapore and administrative in Silicon Valley, California. The company has manufacturing operations in over 40 countries, totaling approximately 200,000 employees.
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In 1969, the company was founded in Silicon Valley as Flextronics, Inc. by Joe McKenzie. In 1980, the company was sold to Bob Todd, Joe Sullivan and Jack Watts. In 1981, Flextronics became a publicly held company.
In 1990, the company returned to being a private company in a leveraged buyout and was renamed as Flextronics International, Ltd. with Singapore as its new base. In 1993, the company received venture capital funding through Sequoia Capital, and became a public held company again in 1994. The company closed its contract electronic manufacturing plant in Richardson, Texas in 1996. The company acquired two companies in Hong Kong, Astron Group and FICO Plastics Ltd. and a Swedish-based company, Ericsson Business Networks. In 2000, the company ranked third on "100 Best-Managed Companies" by IndustryWeek. In 2005, the company purchased the manufacturing division of Nortel Networks, and Solectron in 2007. In 2006 Flextronics took over a part of the production of Lego, but in 2009 Lego decided to end relations with Flextronics and purchase the production facilities in Mexico and Hungary. On June 4, 2007, Flextronics offered to purchase Solectron for US$3.6 billion and thus making Solectron a subsidiary of Flextronics. The acquisition of Solectron was completed by end of October 2007, earlier than anticipated.
On March 18, 2009, Flextronics was invited to ring the NASDAQ stock market opening bell, signifying the day’s start of trading and celebrated 15-year NASDAQ-listed anniversary. Mike McNamara (CEO) and a group of top executives represented the company at the ringing of the bell. On August 25, 2009, Flextronics announced that it was chosen by LG Electronics (LGE), a global provider of advanced digital products and applied technologies, to manufacture 19, 22, 26, 32, and 37-inch LCD television receivers at its Ciudad Juárez, Mexico facility for distribution to the North and South American markets. On September 2, 2009, Flextronics announced that Multek received Danaher Test and Measurement's 2009 Outstanding Supplier Award. The award was given based on quality, delivery performance, engineering support and cost for work with two of Danaher's business units, Tektronix and Fluke.
On September 15, 2010, Flextronics announced that it had been chosen by Brammo, Inc., a global leader in the electric motorcycle business, to be its manufacturing partner for the production and distribution of plug-in electric motorcycles and components. The partnership represented an expansion of Flextronics' Automotive Division's portfolio for battery-powered vehicles and complemented its expertise in high voltage and energy recuperation for the automotive market. In 2010, the company signed an agreement with Lenovo to provide manufacturing for Europe. That same year, Flextronics also signed an agreement with Brammo to provide acquisition and manufacturing in North America, Asia and Europe.
In 2012, Flextronics incubated Elementum, a start-up supply chain management (SCM) company based in Mountain View, California. In 2014, Elementum was spun off from Flextronics as its own separate entity.
In 2014, Flextronics was named as the manufacturer of the Fitbit Force by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in the context of a complete recall of the product due to rashes developing on the wrists of its users.
In July 2015 the company announced that it will change the company name from Flextronics to just Flex. In November 2015, Flex, acquired Wink smart home platform to bring the Intelligence of Things "Home". Flex has been a strategic partner to Wink, serving as their primary supplier of hardware and firmware, including the Wink Hub and Wink Relay, which include core intellectual property developed within Flex.
In August 2016, the state of Massachusetts and the city of Boston offered the company more than $3 million in public aid to entice the company to open its Flex Boston Innovation Center on the South Boston waterfront. The 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) facility will employ 25 people and be located in a former military storehouse in the Seaport, now called the Innovation and Design Building.
In July 2017, Flex sold Wink to i.am+ for $38.7M
In 2013, Flextronics launched Lab IX, an accelerator program based out of Milpitas (where the company also has an R&D center), which will award $500,000 to each selected company to grow their ideas and bring it to market.
The focus of Lab IX is to find start-ups that are less than three years old, have less than $5 million in funding — “early stage disruptive companies incorporating hardware and software innovation”. In addition to a capital injection, Lab IX will also provide access to Lab IX and Flextronics’ engineers and designers, including IDEO, access to manufacturing and prototyping equipment — some $30 million in the R&D center alone. Those who look like they may be progressing to the next stage of their development get access to Flextronics’ network of factories for manufacturing, procurement network and marketing network.
Flextronics was sued what was apparent in breach of contract with Beckman Coulter Inc., a medical device maker. The case dates from 1997, when Beckman Coulter entered into an agreement with Dovatron, a unit of the Dii Group, to provide circuit boards for a Beckman blood analyzer. Flextronics acquired the Dii Group in 1999 and, according to Beckman, shortly thereafter Flextronics refused to provide the circuit boards unless it bought other electronic components from the company.
At the end of trial, Flextronics paid $23 million for the damages.
A former Flextronics executive, pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud and security fraud by providing confidential information related to USB charger shipment data used for US based iPhones and iPods for the third and fourth quarters of 2009.