Nokia Shareholders Approve Sale Of Handset Division To Microsoft

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Nokia investors kiss goodbye to mobile phones at EGM in Finland

Nokia shareholders have accepted Microsoft’s £4.6 billion offer for the Finnish manufacturer’s devices and services business at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in Helsinki.

The Financial Times reports that 99.7 percent of shareholders who had voted before the meeting approved the transaction, with these investors holding four fifths of the shares registered for the EGM.

Microsoft’s takeover bid was first announced in September and shareholder approval of the deal marks the end of Nokia’s 30 year involvement with mobile phone manufacturing.

Nokia Microsoft sale

Nokia Lumia 625 (10)The firm was the most successful smartphone maker from the beginning of the century until the arrival of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android wiped away its lead. More recently it joined Microsoft’s Windows Phone initiative  in early 2011, becoming the most successful device manufacturer for that platform.

Microsoft will hope the acquisition of Nokia’ss handset business will strengthen the mobile operating system and increase its share of the smartphone market.

Nokia will be left with its Here Maps, advanced technology and network solutions businesses, with the firm’s most recent quarterly results offering positive signs to its future. Nokia posted sales figures of €5.7 billion (£4.9bn) in the second quarter of 2013, but €2.9 billion (£2.5bn), more than half, of this was generated by the divisions that Microsoft is not acquiring.

It has been suggested the new Nokia could seek a tie-up with troubled equipment manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent, which has lost around $10 billion since the two firms merged in 2006, to better challenge the likes of Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE.

The EGM is expected to continue for several hours to allow some smaller shareholders to voice their anger at the sale of an iconic Finnish business and to debate Stephen Elop’s huge $25.4 million (£16m) payoff.

Elop is entitled to 18 months of his salary, along with a “management short term cash incentive” worth $5.7 million and share awards of $19.7 million, despite the fact he will be joining Microsoft in a new role once Nokia’s handset business changes hands.

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