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Nokia to buy Siemens stake in joint telecom equipment venture

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Nokia Siemens Networks
Nokia Siemens Networks

Nokia is poised to buy out German partner Siemens for its 50 percent share of their joint Nokia Siemens Networks telecom equipment business, report Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. According to the reports, the Finnish cellphone maker will pay less than €2 billion (€1.7 billion, or $2.21 billion, says the WSJ), using short-term debt to finance the deal. Formed in 2007, Nokia Siemens Networks had been unprofitable until last year, when cost cutting finally pushed it into the black for the first time.

Despite Nokia’s lackluster handset sales and a $196 million loss last quarter, the company is arguably in a better place than it was a year ago, when it posted an operating loss of €1.3 billion, owing in large part to plummeting demand for Symbian devices. Demand for Lumia devices is no doubt growing (up 27 percent from the previous quarter), but an overall decline in handset shipments could be driving Nokia’s decision to invest more in other, more profitable businesses.

Update: It's official. Nokia has issued a press release confirming the purchase price of €1.7 billion. The deal still has to get regulatory approval, but is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013.