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Nokia, Microsoft complete handset deal

Nokia, Microsoft complete handset deal

New Delhi: Nokia on Friday completed the sale of its handset business to software giant Microsoft, keeping the Chennai manufacturing plant, one of its largest facilities, out of the deal.

The Finnish handset maker expects the value of the transaction, which was completed after a month’s delay, to be slightly higher than the earlier announced 5.44 billion euros (about USD 7.2 billion) after final adjustments based on the verified closing balance sheet, Nokia said in a statement.

Welcoming the completion of the deal, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reiterated the focus of the Redmond-headquartered firm on a “mobile-first, cloud-first world,” according to a statement from the US company.

“With the Nokia mobile phone business, Microsoft will target the affordable mobile devices market, a USD 50 billion annual opportunity,” it said.

Nokia said the Chennai manufacturing plant will manufacture devices for Microsoft under a service agreement.

“In India, our manufacturing facility is subject to an asset freeze by the Indian tax authorities as a result of ongoing tax proceedings. Consequently, the facility remains part of Nokia following the closing of the transaction. Nokia and Microsoft have entered into a service agreement whereby Nokia would produce mobile devices for Microsoft,” it said.

The deal also excludes Nokia’s plant in Masan, South Korea, which has about 200 employees and will be closed.

“Amid the uncertainty for our employees in Chennai and because of the planned closure of our facility in Masan, Nokia plans to offer a programme of support, including financial assistance, which would give our employees the chance to explore opportunities outside Nokia starting from a sound financial base.

“The company plans to bring to Chennai and Masan elements of its Bridge program, which we have made available for employees affected by company changes in other sites,” the firm added.

“Today we welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business to our family. The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation,” Mr. Nadella said.

Former Nokia president and CEO Stephen Elop will serve as executive vice-president of Microsoft Devices Group and report to Mr. Nadella.

Microsoft will honour all Nokia customer warranties for existing devices, beginning April 25. It will absorb about 25,000 employees, who will be transferred globally from Nokia.

According to reports, Nokia may name India-born Rajeev Suri as its next CEO and outline a new strategy focussed on network equipment business on April 29.


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