Nokia, Microsoft to miss deadline for selling phone division

A wait for antitrust approvals in Asia delays the $7.2 billion deal beyond a planned first-quarter closing, but Microsoft and Nokia remain committed.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland

Former Nokia Stephen Elop, shown here speaking in 2011, agreed to sell Nokia's mobile-phone business to his former employer, Microsoft.
Stephen Elop, shown here speaking in 2011, agreed to sell Nokia's mobile-phone business to his former employer, Microsoft. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Nokia won't sell its devices and services business to Microsoft by the first-quarter deadline the companies set last year, saying Sunday night that regulatory hurdles delayed the deal's closing until April.

"Nokia and Microsoft remain committed to the transaction," and the companies "continue to be confident that the transaction will close," Nokia said in a statement. The problem is that not all antitrust authorities around the world have given their approval.

"Nokia and Microsoft have already received most of the required regulatory approvals, including approvals from the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. Furthermore, Nokia and Microsoft continue to make good progress related to the closing conditions and integration planning," Nokia said. "However, the transaction is pending approvals from certain antitrust authorities in Asia which are still conducting their reviews." In September, Microsoft announced its $7.2 billion plan to acquire Nokia's phone business and license some patents. Nokia became Microsoft's biggest and closest Windows Phone partner in a mutual bid for relevance in a market dominated by Apple's iOS and Google's Android.