Reuters is reporting that Nokia is looking at potential buyers for the luxury phone brand yet again, this time with private equity firm EQT. Sources speaking to Reuters say that Nokia is hoping to take away €200 million (~$250 million). The deal is expected to go through sometime this week, but talks are still ongoing due to the problematic nature of separating the unit from Nokia.
This marks the second time that a Vertu rumor report has emerged in a short space of time. Reuters also reported at the end of April that Nokia was hoping equity firm Permira would purchase Vertu for the same amount, around €200 million. EQT was said to have been interested in Vertu at the time but wouldn’t pursue a sale, while this latest report indicates otherwise.
Nokia has been struggling in the market thanks to the meteoric rise of iOS and Android, so it makes sense that the company is looking to let go of what it no longer needs and raise some capital in the process. We doubt the luxury phone market is blossoming thanks to the advent of affordable smartphones, and Nokia has said its firmly committed to Windows Phone going forward.
It’s still an uphill struggle for the company, however. It posted a $1.7 billion loss during the first quarter, with analysts fearing Nokia is burning through its cash reserves too quickly to support the business. Standards & Poor downgraded Nokia’s rating to “junk” status back in April, and not long after Samsung overtook the company in global phone sales.