The European Commission has cleared NSN’s acquisition of Motorola's networks division for $1.2 billion (€905 million), as fresh rumors that Nokia and Siemens are close to scoring a major investor for their JV emerge.
The EC ruled that NSN’s buy out of Motorola would not substantially harm competition in Europe, because Motorola's networks business has little presence in the region, and the combined entity will still face significant competition.
NSN chief Rajeev Suri said the purchase would boost his firm’s presence in markets including the US and Japan when the deal was announced in July.
The clearance has re-ignited rumors parent companies Nokia and Siemens are negotiating the sale of 30% of NSN to a consortium led by investment fund Blackstone, with Germany’s Manager Magazin claiming the talks are at an advanced stage.
A deal can’t be agreed until the Motorola deal closes, the magazine said, adding that other potential investors including KKR, Apollo, Bain Capital and Silver Lake Partners have withdrawn from the running.
Suri appeared to confirm investors had approached the firm regarding a $1 billion (€754 million) deal in August, but denied NSN had sought venture capital, calling the approaches “unsolicited.”
But an IPO could be in the cards in the medium-term, Siemens CFO Joe Kaeser said last month.
NSN has been running at an operating loss since its formation, and has forecast that its market share will be flat in 2010.