Nokia labelled complacent as NSN buyers withdraw interest

Two of the potential bidders for Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) have backed away from acquiring a majority stake in the struggling infrastructure supplier. The US-based private equity groups, KKR and TPG, became frustrated by the slow progress and lack of flexibility on price and ownership levels, according to a report in the Financial Times.

While this still leaves the consortium of the Gores Group and Platinum Equity in the bidding for NSN, analysts have accused Nokia of failing to give the bidders proper attention as it focused on fighting to stop its handset business from collapse. "If I was running Nokia, the last management distraction I would want would be having to deal with NSN," Ben Uglow, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, told the Financial Times.

"As we have said earlier, there has been unsolicited interest in NSN and we continue to be in constructive talks with multiple parties," Nokia said in a statement. The company said NSN has "real momentum and innovation, and shareholder interests are aligned in building a strong and profitable company."

Other industry observers supported the view that Nokia is ignoring the ongoing operational problems at NSN, which lost €107 million in the first quarter as it battles for market share with Huawei and ZTE of China. NSN's other parent, Siemens, has also expressed its frustration at the lack of progress with the sales process.

"NSN is bigger than some Dax companies [the top 30 German firms] but it is being managed as if it was a simple division within Nokia," one unnamed Siemens manager told the FT.

For more:
- see this Financial Times article (sub. req.)
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article
- see this Reuters article

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