Nokia: Over 99 percent of votes in favour of selling devices unit to Microsoft

Pending regulatory clearance, Nokia's devices business should be Microsoft's by the first quarter of 2014.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

A final tally from yesterday's historic shareholder vote to approve the €5.4bn ($7.4bn) sale of Nokia's devices business to Microsoft showed overwhelming support for the deal, expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

The final count showed that more than 99 percent of votes cast were in favour of the deal, Nokia said, following preliminary figures it released yesterday from shareholders who voted in advance. Those proxy votes were 90 percent in favour of the sale, Nokia said.

At yesterday's extraordinary general meeting in Helsinki, Nokia said that around 90 percent of shareholders who voted by proxy had voted in favour of the Microsoft buyout.

"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," Nokia's chairman and interim CEO Risto Siilasmaa said in a statement.

"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."

Nokia agreed in September to sell its devices and services business to Microsoft in a deal that included a 10-year licensing agreement covering around 30,000 Nokia patents

All of the 4,700 Nokia's Finnish employees that work in devices and services will be transferred to Microsoft, and the country will become a new centre of mobility R&D for the company.

Microsoft will retain rights to use the Nokia brand on its feature phones for the next 10 years. Nokia will be able to reenter the mobile handset market again in future should it wish to, but not for a few years: under the deal, it agreed not to launch mobile devices until the end of of 2015.

Once its devices and services unit has been sold to Microsoft, Nokia will continue to operate as a seperate company with three main focuses. Its core businesses post-acquisition will be NSN (Nokia Solutions and Networks), Here mapping and location services, and Advanced Technologies, which spans R&D and a patents business it plans to derive more licensing revenues from.

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