Nokia refused to comment on media reports the company had hired an investment bank to help it defend from a hostile takeover, the latest rumour to emerge questioning the future direction of the company.

Reports first published in online investor news portal TMT Finance, and subsequently cited by a number of finance publications including Reuters and The New York Times, claim Nokia hired Citi Bank to help bolster its defences against a bid for part or all of the company.

Further information was not disclosed, though the reports were credited with causing a sizable bump to the company’s share price when published.

When contacted by Mobile World Live, Nokia said it does not comment on market rumours.

The latest reports follow a turbulent start to 2020 at Nokia with the company frozen out of China Mobile’s lucrative 5G tender, announcing a change of CEO, warning about its prospects for the year, and being forced to fend off reports of asset sales.

In February, Nokia denied widespread media reports it was investigating potential asset sales and restructuring to improve its balance sheet. Less than a week later, it announced CEO Rajeev Suri would step down to be replaced by Pekka Lundmark at the start of September.

Despite comments from Suri in February on the high level of competition the 5G market, Nokia has remained bullish on its progress with the technology, declaring what it claimed was a leader position in terms of related patents.