Nokia shareholders have approved the 5.44 billion euros (£4.5bn) sale of its mobile phone division to Microsoft, as both firms looks to regain lost ground to Google, Samsung and Apple in the mobile sector.
Nokia shareholders have approved the 5.44 billion euros (£4.5bn) sale of its mobile phone division to Microsoft, as both firms looks to regan lost ground to Google, Samsung and Apple in the mobile sector.
According to Nokia – which will now become a telecom equipment and services company – the deal was almost unanimously approved (99.7%) by shareholders who voted ahead of an extraordinary meeting in Helsinki.
The transfer of the handset business should take place in early 2014.
Once the world leader in mobile phones, Nokia lost its top place to South Korea’s Samsung in 2012.
Although still number two in the overall mobile phone market, ahead of US giant Apple, the company now ranks eighth on the rapidly growing smartphone (internet enabled) market, according to telecom consultancy Gartner.
Nokia has been posting losses – 3.1 billion euros in 2012 and 590 million euros in the first nine months of 2013 – and the sale is an attempt to relaunch into more profitable business areas.
The decision by shareholders to shed the brand’s last link to its once great phone empire was largely expected and the company’s share price has doubled since the plan was announced in early September.
When the sale was first announced, Nokia said it would also make changes to its leadership.
Stephen Elop, the former president chief executive of Nokia Corporation, was to step down and resign from the company’s board under the terms of the deal.
Nokia has faced criticism over the 18.8m euro pay-out Elop is set to receive when he leaves the company. He is due to move over to Microsoft when the sale is completed.
Elop left Microsoft to join Nokia in 2010, and has been cited by some as one of the frontrunners to replace Microsoft’s outgoing chief executive Steve Ballmer. Ballmer is expected to leave the company in 2014.