Nokia shareholders back sale of unaffordable phone division to Microsoft

Nokia logoThe sale of Nokia's devices division to Microsoft was given shareholder approval at the Finnish company's extraordinary general meeting in Helsinki Tuesday.

Ahead of the final vote, Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa said that more than 99 percent of preregistered votes, accounting for 78 percent of all voters, have voted in favor of the sale, making it a done deal even before the five-hour meeting took place. The sale will now go through, pending regulatory approval.

Explaining the sale to the assembled shareholders, Siilasmaa said that although Nokia was starting to claw back some market share, it couldn't afford the cost of doing so. This caused the Nokia board to look for other options. Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer approached Nokia in February of this year to talk about a purchase, giving the board the solution it was looking for.

The goal for Nokia was then to secure as high a price as possible. Although Nokia was concerned that Redmond might look elsewhere (particularly at BlackBerry), Siilasmaa assuaged concerns that Nokia was selling for too low a price. He said that while Nokia was considering other offers when Ballmer made his initial approach, no other bids were made for the division once Redmond had made its $7.2 billion bid.

The sale is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Microsoft, Nokia

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