Nokia looking to unload Vertu brand?

The troubled cell phone maker is in advanced talks to sell the luxury phone maker to a private equity group for about $265 million, the Financial Times reports.

Year of the Dragon phone
Vertu is best known for its luxury phones, like this Year of the Dragon phone unveiled in January. Vertu

Nokia is reportedly looking to sell its luxury brand Vertu to a private equity group for about 200 million euros, or about $265 million.

The once-dominant cell phone maker is in advanced negotiations with Permira to unload the U.K.-based subsidiary, which is best known for offering $20,000 cell phones, the Financial Times reported today (subscription required). Goldman Sachs was reportedly advising on the sale.

Following a similar move by Fitch Ratings last week, Standard & Poor's on Friday cut the rating for the Finnish mobile phone maker to "junk." The weaker rating reflects a lower estimate for sales from Nokia's handset division this year along with a revised forecast on profits and cash flow.

Earlier this month Nokia reported a $1.76 billion loss for its first quarter as its Symbian phones continue to shed market share. The company has been hedging its bets on its new Windows Phone-based Lumia handsets, but sales have yet to take off on a global scale.

Earlier this year, the luxury phone maker launched a trio of phones to welcome the Year of the Dragon, complete with precious stones and top-grade metals, plus a hand-engraved four-claw dragon on the battery cover.

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