Is Nokia Preparing to Sell its Handset Business? (NOK)
Nokia's (NYSE: NOK) handset business is stronger in 2013 than it has been over the last few years.
The company finally began to turn things around last year when it released the Lumia 920, a new Windows Phone 8 device that came with a plethora of innovative features.
Nokia has followed the Lumia 920 with a number of other impressive phones, including some decent mid-range models that could help the company expand its reach in emerging markets.
Two years ago, this would have been the ultimate scenario for Nokia. Today, some investors believe that it might be just what the company needs to sell its handset division.
At least one analyst thinks that Nokia could "negotiate a sale of its handset unit."
This is not the first time that a Nokia sale has been rumored -- but it is, perhaps, one of the first times that an analyst expects the company to sell just one part of the firm.
Most of the Nokia-related M&A rumors have surrounded the possibility that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will acquire the firm to beef up its portfolio. Those rumors have turned out to be false since the day the emerged, most notably after Microsoft released its own tablet without the help of a brand-name partner.
If Microsoft (or some other tech company) acquired Nokia's handset business, it might eventually choose to re-brand the phones with its own label. This would diminish the value of the acquisition.
Aside from the intellectual property that Nokia could provide (which is extensive), prospective buyers stand to benefit from keeping the Nokia name.
Globally, Nokia is known as one of the most successful cellular device producers. The firm may have failed to keep up with the smartphone sales attained by Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung (OTC: SSNLF), but Nokia still produces more handsets than most manufacturers combined.
By acquiring Siemens' 50 percent stake in Nokia Siemens Networks (a joint venture between the two firms), Nokia seems to be interested in strengthening its overall business. There are no hints within this acquisition to suggest that Nokia has any intention of selling a major division.
That said, Nokia has no qualms about selling divisions it no longer needs. Last year the company announced a massive sale to unload assets and operations that were no longer pulling their weight.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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