Nokia wins Chinese approval for Microsoft deal

Tue Apr 8, 2014 8:34am EDT
 
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By Sakari Suoninen

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia has won approval from Chinese competition authorities to sell its mobile phone business to Microsoft Corp without having to change its main technology patent practices, it said on Tuesday.

The Finnish company agreed in September to sell its flagship business to Microsoft in a 5.4 billion euro ($7.4 billion) deal. However, it kept its patent portfolio, viewed by analysts as a promising source of future growth.

Nokia's announcement on Tuesday sent its shares up 3.1 percent to 5.49 euros as investors had feared Chinese regulators could demand tough future conditions for Nokia's patents business.

Nokia said it still expected the Microsoft deal to close this month but would not comment on which approvals were still needed before that.

The deal has received the green light from other regulators including in the United States and European Union. Such approvals are needed due to the size of the transaction and the companies' presence in the different markets.

Nokia said it had pledged to honor fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) patent licensing principles, but added that it had not been accused of unfair practices.

"No authority has challenged Nokia's compliance with its ... undertakings related to standard-essential patents or requested that Nokia make changes to its licensing program or royalty terms," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Nokia, which once dominated the global mobile phone business, holds a portfolio of about 30,000 technology patents - some essential for mobile communications - which analysts have said could be worth between 3 billion and 10 billion euros.   Continued...

 
Nokia's Asha mobile phones are seen in a Helsinki mobile phone store January 21, 2014. REUTERS/Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva