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Reported $19bn takeover of Nokia by Microsoft looks unlikely

02 июня 2011

Talk of a mega-takeover of Nokia by Microsoft began losing steam almost as soon as the rumour broke on Wednesday.

Nokia late Wednesday declined to comment on reports that its mobile phone unit is subject to a $19 billion takeover by Microsoft.

A spokesperson for the company gave Total Telecom the standard "Nokia does not comment on speculation and rumours" line, and a separate company spokesman followed up with a Twitter comment that the report is "completely baseless".

The story came from Boy Genius Report (BGR), which quoted Eldar Murtazin, editor-in-chief of Mobile-Review.com, as saying the $19 billion deal has already been struck. Murtazin's comments come just weeks after he claimed Nokia and Microsoft were about to open discussions that could see an acquisition negotiated before the end of the year. BGR noted that Murtazin has a proven track record when it comes to Nokia speculation, having been the first to report that Nokia would use Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform for its smartphones.

However, it appears that the revelation could be little more than a conveniently-timed rumour... if you're a Nokia shareholder that is.

Although Nokia's shares remain at a significantly lower level than its 52-week high of US$11.75, the takeover report caused a slight uptick, peaking at $7 on Wednesday morning, U.S. Eastern time.

The vendor's shares fell to a 52-week low of $6.45 following a profit warning on Tuesday; Nokia expects Q2 sales at its devices and services unit to come in below its previously forecast €6.1 billion-€6.6 billion range, and said its operating margin could be around breakeven, significantly below its predicted 6%-9% range. Goldman Sachs downgraded Nokia from buy to neutral, while Moody's late Wednesday placed the company under review for possible downgrade.

Referring to faster-than-anticipated erosion in Nokia's market share and accelerating price pressures, Moody's noted that "Nokia may enter into a phase of cash consumption and will start the Windows Phone period... from a substantially weaker market position." The first Nokia smartphones running the Windows Phone 7 OS are due to come to market in Q4.

"Investors choking on their plunging Nokia shares can unload at a better price as the various media outlets mull the obscure Web report's veracity," The Wall Street Journal commented on its blog. "Nokia has already risen sharply off its lows on more than 150 million shares traded," it added. "Somebody's getting out."


Источник: Total Telecom

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