Nokia Confirms Sale of Luxury Manufacturer Vertu

Nokia has announced that it will be selling the luxury brand Vertu to a private equity group. EQT VI is the firm in question, who say it’s “excited to develop Vertu as a standalone company.”

The news comes after Goldman Sachs were called in late last year to get the sale process underway, and it’s part of Nokia’s continued streamlining of its business, and radical cost reductions.

Vertu’s rather ostentatious products may not appeal to everyone, but the company has reported that it has seen “double-digit sales growth” over the past couple of years, and has becoming a considerable success since opening in 1998. Vertu has its head office in the UK, and employs 1000 people around the world.

The terms of the deal are confidential at the moment, but the price was hoped to be between £160m and £250m. A report published by Bloomberg, who spoke to someone close to the situation, indicated it came in at the lower end of the scale, quoting €200m, or £160m.

Nokia will retain a 10% shareholding stake, but Vertu now has the freedom to go its own way, so it will be interesting to see whether it abandons the aging Symbian platform for something a little more modern.

The company has always concentrated more on materials than features, but according to EQT, it wants to drive marketing and product development, so changes could be afoot.

The sale is on target to be completed during the second half of the year, once the deal has passed all the necessary approvals.

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