Psion wins Symbian sale vote

Unless other shareholders step in, Nokia will soon have its hands on a controlling stake in Symbian

Psion shareholders have approved the sale of the company's stake in Symbian to Nokia, despite the opposition of Phoenix Asset Management Partners, Psion's second-largest shareholder, and many small Psion investors.

At an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Friday, a total of 171.5 million votes were cast in favour of the proposal, versus 83.5 million against.

As predicted in earlier reports, large city institutions apart from Pheonix supported the proposal -- as did Psion chairman David Potter. But many small investors spoke out against it at the EGM, arguing that it made more sense to float Symbian on the stock market.

The result of Friday's vote doesn't mean that Nokia will definitely buy Psion's 31 percent stake in Symbian. Other shareholders in the smartphone software joint venture have the right to step in and buy some of Psion's holding instead.

Ahead of the vote, some private investors accused institutional stockholders of apathy and ignorance, claiming they weren't examining Psion's proposals in enough detail.

Many industry analysts claim that Symbian's credibility will be damaged if Nokia obtains Psion's share in the venture, a move which would give Nokia a majority stake in Symbian. Previously no single mobile phone company has controlled Symbian, which counts most major mobile phone makers as both shareholders and licensees.