Nokia sells its luxury arm Vertu to EQT, retains 10% share

Nokia sells its luxury arm Vertu to EQT, retains 10% share
We knew that it was going to happen sooner or later, especially after that recent rumor popped up. Nokia is selling its luxury division Vertu to the EQT private equity group. Both companies have already agreed on the deal's specifics, and the acquisition is expected to close during the second half of 2012, after the regulatory institutions give it the green light.

For those of you not familiar with the brand, Vertu offers luxury phones built using Nokia technology and covered in premium materials, including gems and precious metals. In addition, customers are granted access to special services, such as the Vertu Concierge, who is at their disposal 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Current Vertu models retail for up to 5-digit figures.

Neither Nokia nor EQT have disclosed the exact amount, but the deal is estimated at around $250 million. In addition, Nokia will retain a 10% minority shareholding in Vertu.

source: Nokia

EQT VI to acquire Vertu from Nokia

Independent investment positions Vertu for future growth

Espoo, Finland - Nokia has agreed terms for EQT VI, part of the leading private equity group in Northern Europe, to acquire Vertu, the global leader in luxury mobile phones, from Nokia.

Nokia believes that this is the best option for the next step in Vertu's journey of delivering excellence, enabling the brand to focus on increased opportunities for growth in the luxury category.

"With its strong brand, undisputed category leadership and attractive growth outlook, Vertu fits well with EQT VI's investment strategy. EQT VI is excited about the opportunity to develop Vertu as a standalone company and plans to drive the development of the luxury mobile phone category through significant investments in retail expansion, marketing and product development," said Jan Ståhlberg, Partner at EQT Partners, Investment Advisor to EQT VI.

Having delivered double digit sales growth over the past few years, Vertu continues to lead its class with a portfolio of high end mobile phones, increasingly led by its smartphones and tailored services, offering unique access, experiences and opportunities to a discerning and growing customer base.

"This is a logical next step in the evolution of Vertu as the world leader in luxury mobile products," said Perry Oosting, President of Vertu. "Since Vertu began in 1998, our business has grown every year, due to the efforts of our talented workforce and the unique products and services we offer to our customers. We believe that EQT VI will position Vertu to continue to grow and lead in our marketplace."

Striking the perfect balance between an unparalleled art of craftsmanship and modern technology, Vertu offers an unrivalled range of category leading mobile phones as functional as they are aesthetically desirable.

Vertu prides itself on being a pioneer in delivering relevant, tailored luxury information and services direct to mobile handsets through Vertu Concierge, and continues to expand this proposition to deliver unparalleled customer service.

Vertu is headquartered in Church Crookham, UK and employs approximately 1,000 people worldwide.

The transaction, the terms of which are confidential, is expected to close during the second half of 2012, subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions. Nokia will retain a 10% minority shareholding in Vertu.
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