Nokia shareholders approve sale to Microsoft

Nokia shareholders approve sale to MicrosoftNokia shareholders have officially approved the €5.4bn sale of the company's devices and services business to Microsoft, voting to OK the deal in a shareholders meeting in Helsinki yesterday.

But several had scathing words for outgoing CEO Stephen Elop, who leaves the company $28m richer and will join former employer Microsoft, some say as favourite to replace Steve Ballmer at the head of the software giant next year.

The sale was supported by owners of more than 99% of Nokia stocks, a clear seal of approval for a deal agreed in September and expected to be closed by the end of Q1 next year.

Nokia's handset division will now become the property of Microsoft, along with a 10 year lease to use the company's patents. The Finnish company will hold on to the services and networks side of the business, which has remained relatively strong while the mobile phone business has crumbled.

The Nokia share price has doubled since the deal was first announced a couple of years ago, but is still trading at less than 10% of the €65 level Nokia shares hit back in 2000.

Most of that drop-off happened before Elop took charge in late 2010, but his decision to drop Symbian and MeeGo and embrace Windows Phone as Nokia's primary smartphone platform in 2011 is still controversial now.

“When the Canadian came, I knew it that he would take it along with him,” said one shareholder, 74-year-old Olavi Savola.

“Nokia has been one of the cornerstones for Finnish society. We are losing part of that,” added another, Sirkka-Liisa Vikman, voicing a popular sentiment.

Via Reuters

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