Nokia gets resounding support at EGM for sale of handset unit - Mobile World Live

Nokia gets resounding support at EGM for sale of handset unit

19 NOV 2013

Nokia shareholders have strongly approved the sale of the Finnish vendor’s mobile phone business to Microsoft at a company EGM.

Early indications gave an idea of the scale of support. According to a Financial Times report, the chairman of the meeting said 99.7 per cent of investors who voted ahead of the meeting had approved the Microsoft sale. And those investors represented four-fifths of the shares registered for the meeting.

Ahead of the EGM, the company has faced dissent in its home country over the sale of the onetime iconic handset business to a US buyer for €5.44 billion.

The actual vote gave protesters, including small shareholders, a chance to show their feelings about the sale.

Previous ire against the deal was generated by several sources, including anger against the size of the payoff to former CEO Stephen Elop (who received €19 million).

The Microsoft deal was accompanied by a patent licence deal that has also attracted criticism alongside Elop’s payout.

Critics included the country’s Prime Minister. During Elop’s three years in charge, the company’s share price fell significantly.

Expressions of anger were predicted from individual shareholders at the meeting. However, the sale was always expected to receive shareholder backing at the EGM. It appears that the vote had heavy institutional support which means big block votes in favour of the deal.

Individual protesters carry relatively little voting power in comparison with big investors.

Some protesters were more organised. A group called Nokita attempted to find support to outbid Microsoft but admitted defeat earlier this week. A centre piece of the group’s strategy was for the manufacturer to start selling Android and Linux devices.

The megadeal is still expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

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Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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