Report: Nokia Siemens in talks to sell 30% of company to private equity firms

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Siemens are negotiating with a consortium of private equity firms to sell off 30 percent of their infrastructure joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks, according to a report in the German magazine Manager Magazin.

The report, which didn't cite its sources, said the two companies are holding talks with a group that includes Blackstone and the Gores Group. No price for the stake has been set, the report said, because Nokia Siemens is still in the process of finalizing its $1.2 billion acquisition of Motorola's (NYSE:MOT) wireless networks business. The report said other private equity firms, which included KKR, Apollo, Bain Capital and Silver Lake Partners, dropped out of the bidding process.

Nokia and Siemens reportedly have been holdings talks with interested parties since August.

A Nokia spokeswoman declined to comment. A Nokia Siemens spokesman, Ben Roome, declined to comment directly on the report. "We acknowledged in August that private equity was taking an interest in Nokia Siemens Networks," he told FierceWireless. "We welcome this interest as a testament to the company's progress, which is clearly being noticed by 'smart money.' At the right terms, new money invested into Nokia Siemens Networks could benefit it and its customers."

Nokia Siemens has weighed down the balance sheets of both parent companies. The joint venture reported a $386 million operating loss in the third quarter. Sales were up 7 percent though, and Nokia said it expected NSN's operating margin to be between 2 percent and 5 percent in the fourth quarter.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article
- see this Manager Magazin article (via Google translation)

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