Nokia is reportedly looking to offload Vertu, its luxury mobile phone brand, as part of the Finnish vendor’s ongoing efforts to streamline its business lines.
According to sources at the Financial Times, Nokia has appointed Goldman Sachs to oversee a sale, which is thought to be at an early stage. The source added that there had been interest from private equity groups, while luxury goods brand may also be in the frame.
Nokia created Vertu in 1998 targeting a small – but hugely affluent – demographic. In the UK, Vertu phones can cost upwards of £200,000 and typically include precious metal components and casings. Due to their long lifecycle, the Vertu phones do not offer any cutting-edge technology but do include a number of peripheral perks, such as a dedicated concierge service.
The phones are typically sold in upmarket department stores – such as Harrods in the UK – and at airports. According to the Financial Times, there are outlets in more than 60 countries, with the phones particularly popular among affluent consumers in Russia, Asia and the Middle East.
It is estimated that Vertu turns over annual revenue of between €200 million and €300 million. However, the report notes that Vertu has "little overlap with the wider Nokia brand."