Cyanogen said to have snubbed Google acquisition interest

CyanogenMod on the OnePlus On. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

CyanogenMod on the OnePlus On. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Cyanogen Inc., the creator of the hugely popular CyanogenMod software, has reportedly rebuffed acquisition interest from Google and is instead discussing a Series C round of funding with a number of investors. The team is reportedly seeking a valuation around $1 billion.

That’s a large sum of cash for a relatively new company that sees hardly any revenue. Cyanogen’s software is distributed to users completely free of charge, but as one of the best and most popular independent ROMs for Android-powered smartphones and tablets, it has incredible potential.

According to potential investors who have been in talks with Cyanogen, company executives have held meetings with Google’s Sundar Pichai — head of the Android division — in which an interest in acquiring the firm has been expressed, The Information reports. But what exactly is Google interested in if it isn’t the money?

After all, one of the things that makes CyanogenMod so popular is that it is closely based on Google’s own stock Android firmware. However, the team does integrate many of its own features — such as an impressive theme engine and greater customization options — that have proven to be immensely popular with its millions of users.

Cyanogen is also in partnership with Oppo and OnePlus, making it the only independent ROM maker whose software is available out-of-the-box on a number of devices.

But the company is thought to be disinterested in becoming a part of Google anytime soon. In fact, it hopes to continue on its own with a Series C round of funding seeking a $1 billion acquisition.

The Information points out that Cyanogen must tread carefully. Its software relies on Google Play certification, and it doesn’t have its own apps and services to fall back on if that happens to be revoked at any point. Of course, it seems highly unlikely Google would do that just because Cyanogen didn’t want to sell up.