As Reuters reported yesterday (June 13th), Nokia is selling its Vertu luxury phone business to private equity group EQT. While reports indicated Vertu would sell for €200 million (about $249 million), Nokia hasn't released the price it negotiated, although a press release indicates the company will be holding onto a 10 percent stake in the operation.
The news comes a month and a half after two of the "big three" rating agencies — S&P and Fitch — downgraded Nokia's credit to "junk" status. The Finnish phone maker has been trying to find a buyer for its premium brand for more than 18 months, according to The Financial Times. While Nokia doesn't break out financial results for Vertu separately, EQT says the luxury handset maker's 2011 sales were €266 million (about $334 million) . Nokia also announced big organizational changes today, including the closure of manufacturing and R&D facilities, and 10,000 job cuts by the end of the year.