Bloomberg News

Nokia Siemens Networks Stake Sale Is Option as Talks Continue

June 27, 2011

June 27 (Bloomberg) -- Siemens AG said it’s still in talks over the sale of a stake in the telecommunications networks business it runs with Nokia Oyj. Nokia said the business still has “multiple options.”

Nokia Siemens Networks, a 50-50 joint venture between Espoo, Finland-based Nokia and Siemens, began talking with private equity firms last year about selling a stake that could bring in new cash and open more strategic options. NSN is the second-biggest maker of wireless communications equipment by market share. It had an operating loss of 686 million euros ($975 million) on revenue of 12.7 billion euros in 2010.

Nokia and Siemens are focusing on restructuring Nokia Siemens Networks and may put more cash into the venture, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Talks with Gores Group LLC and Platinum Equity LLC to sell a controlling stake will probably not lead to a deal, the newspaper said.

“Negotiations are continuing” to sell a stake, said Monika Langendorf, a spokeswoman for Munich-based Siemens. She declined to comment on the number of companies Nokia and Siemens are talking to or the size of the holding being discussed.

Nokia rose 0.9 percent to 4.18 euros at 12:54 p.m. in Helsinki trading. Siemens climbed 0.1 percent to 92.45 euros in Frankfurt.

“Multiple options continue to exist due to NSN’s performance in innovation as well as financial results,” Nokia spokesman James Etheridge said by telephone. “Shareholder interests are aligned in building a strong and profitable company.”

Turnaround

Etheridge declined to define the options or comment on any negotiations involved. Nokia Siemens spokesman Ben Roome declined to comment. Espoo, Finland-based Nokia Siemens said last year that it was in talks with private equity firms which were interested in taking a stake in the vendor.

Nokia Siemens had 18.2 percent of the market for wireless network gear in the first quarter, while Ericsson AB had 40 percent, according to market researcher Dell’Oro Group. Nokia Siemens has about 73,000 employees after acquiring assets from Motorola Solutions Inc. for $975 million in cash in April.

“If someone wants to make a contribution and become a shareholder of NSN, we’ll be listening to what they have to say,” Siemens Chief Financial Officer Joe Kaeser said in an interview with Bloomberg News in Washington on June 21. “So far, there has been no one else who said he could do anything we felt we couldn’t do on our own.”

--Editors: Robert Valpuesta, Kenneth Wong.

To contact the reporters on this story: Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki at dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong in Berlin at kwong11@bloomberg.netvroot@bloomberg.net.


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