Shareholders back Nokia’s €5.4bn handset group selloff

Oliver Smith
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SHAREHOLDERS overwhelmingly backed the €5.44bn (£4.5bn) sale of Nokia’s devices and services division to software giant Microsoft yesterday.

At an emergency general meeting Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa said that 99 per cent of the company’s shareholders had already voted in support of the sale – which is designed to inject much needed cash into the Finnish mobile company, and jettison the firm’s struggling handset division.

“This is a significant step forward for Nokia. We are delighted that shareholders have given us overwhelmingly strong support to proceed with this transformative agreement,” Siilasmaa said at the meeting.

“Today’s vote brings us closer to completing a transaction which will mark the beginning of the next chapter in Nokia’s near 150-year history, offering the potential of greater value for shareholders,” he added.

Without the loss-making handset business, the remaining company will earn over 90 per cent of its revenue from telecom equipment unit Nokia Services and Networks (NSN), its navigation software business and a trove of patents.

NSN reported growing operating margins and profits of €166m in the third quarter to 30 September.

Nokia’s share price has jumped up 96 per cent since the deal with Microsoft was announced in September, it closed down three per cent yesterday at €5.82.