Finnish Nokia agrees sale of Vertu unit to sponsor EQT Partners

Finnish mobile phone group Nokia Oyj (NYSE:NOK) said on Thursday it was selling its luxury handsets making subsidiary Vertu Corp to EQT VI fund, part of Swedish private equity firm EQT Partners AB, for an undisclosed price.

According to earlier media reports, the sale was expected to generate EUR200m, but Financial News has not been able to verify the actual price tag.

The struggling handset maker also announced that it will cut 10,000 jobs as it warned that losses of its mobile phone business will be wider than expected in the second quarter.

Nokia will keep 10% in Vertu, it said, adding that the sale to EQT VI was the next logical step in the unit’s development, helping it to focus on increased opportunities for growth in the luxury category.

EQT VI has also announced the agreement, saying it would further develop Vertu as a standalone firm through significant investments in retail expansion, marketing and product development.

Vertu’s strong brand, its leading position in its category and significant growth potential makes it a perfect fit for EQT VI’s investment strategy, Jan Stahlberg, partner at EQT Partners, said.

Vertu’s president, Perry Oosting, expressed in his comment confidence that EQT VI will position the company to continue its growth and lead the sector.

Based in Church Crookham, UK, Vertu employs around 1,000 globally. The company offers tailored, luxury services and finest design, engineering and manufacturing services. Its products sell through more than 500 stores, including over 70 own-brand boutiques, in 66 countries around the world.

Subject to regulatory clearance and other customary conditions, the transaction is expected to complete during the second half of this year, the parties said.

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