Nokia: Adieu, Vertu luxury line. Hello, Scalado

Sale is the "best option" for Vertu, Nokia says, though it'll retains a 10 percent stake in the mobile firm. Meanwhile, it picks up some imaging assets.

The Year of the Dragon phone from Vertu.
The Year of the Dragon phone from Vertu. Vertu

Nokia has sold off its luxury mobile phone brand Vertu.

The company said today that EQT VI, a private equity group in Northern Europe, has acquired Vertu. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but after it closes at the end of the second quarter, Nokia plans to hold a 10 percent minority stake in the brand.

Back in April, Nokia was rumored to be mulling a Vertu sale . At that time, the company was reportedly being wooed by another private equity group for a deal valued at $265 million.

Vertu came on the mobile scene in 1998, and according to its president Perry Oosting, its business has grown every year since. The company makes high-end mobile phones featuring precious stones and top-grade metals. However, it wasn't necessarily a key revenue driver for Nokia, making it an obvious sale option for a company trying to shed excess weight.

That said, Nokia has also brought on some new talent, announcing today that it has acquired developers, technologies, and intellectual property related to imaging from Scalado. According to Nokia, Scalado has been providing it with imaging software for its products for over 10 years.

"This transaction would enable us to combine our leadership in camera devices with their expertise in imaging, helping people move beyond taking pictures to capturing moments and emotions and then reliving them in many different ways," Nokia executive vice president for Smart Devices Jo Harlow said today in a statement.

Nokia's moves today follow its announcement of 10,000 layoffs and a revised forecast that anticipates the company's margin across its devices business to drop to lower than negative 3 percent. In addition, it has shaken up its executive team to reflect its new focus on Lumia, location-based devices, and improving the profitability of feature phones.

So far, investors don't seem pleased with any of Nokia's decisions: its shares are down nearly 11 percent in pre-market trading to $2.50.

 

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