Nokia mulls sale of luxury Vertu brand for €200m

Beleaguered mobile manufacturer Nokia is considering the sale of its luxury Vertu brand as it looks to focus on its core businesses.The company is deliberating over whether to unload the high-end Vertu handset unit to private equity firm Permira for around €200m (£162.

Beleaguered mobile manufacturer Nokia is considering the sale of its luxury Vertu brand as it looks to focus on its core businesses.

The company is deliberating over whether to unload the high-end Vertu handset unit to private equity firm Permira for around €200m (£162.6m), according to a report in the Financial Times on Sunday.

The Finnish company's Vertu brand makes smartphones adorned with precious materials that usually retail from around £3,500 up to £200,000. Some models also include bespoke content, such as custom ringtones, or a concierge service for things such as booking restaurants or hotels.

A spokeswoman for Nokia told ZDNet UK on Monday that as per its long-standing policy "we do not comment on market rumours or speculation".

Nokia started the independently run Vertu subsidiary in 1998 to capitalise on demand for luxury handsets but has since seen a drop-off in its core mobile business forcing it to refocus its efforts. The company does not provide an independent breakdown of Vertu's financials, but the unit has several stores dedicated to selling the handsets, including multiple outlets in London.

On 19 April, Nokia reported its first financial quarter of 2012, revealing that device sales had fallen 40 percent in comparison with the previous year. In total the company reported a loss of around £1.1bn for the quarter.

Chief executive Stephen Elop admitted that its lacklustre performance had been hindered by its flagship Lumia Windows Phone range, which had failed to gain momentum in some key markets, such as the UK.

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