Update 12 PM ET: It's official and the EGM is over. Shareholders have approved the deal between Microsoft and Nokia.
Nokia shareholders have today approved the Microsoft deal to purchase the company's phone division. The Financial Times reports that 99.7 percent of participating shareholders (around 5,000 attended the vote) were in favour of the deal going through. Microsoft will now integrate the Nokia division into Redmond, taking control of future Lumia and Asha products.
The deal between the two tech giants is expected to be finalised during Q1 2014. Microsoft would then control both the Lumia and Asha lines of hardware currently produced by Nokia. The total cost of the deal will set Microsoft back €5.44 billion, with €3.79 billion for Nokia's handset business, €1.65 billion for the portfolio of patents and finally a four-year license for Nokia's HERE mapping service.
Redmond has funded Nokia €1.5 billion of "immediate financing" to help with cash flow. We spoke with Nokia's Stuart Ryan, Director of Maps and Everyday Mobility at HERE, last week who explained briefly how the Microsoft and Nokia partnership would continue to operate should the deal go ahead, with HERE services continuing to be utilised by Microsoft for Windows, Windows Phone and its Bing search engine.
As for the Lumia and Asha brands, it's still not clear what Microsoft plans to do, though the company has in the past revealed plans to unify branding.
This deal will also see Nokia CEO Stephen Elop return to Microsoft to lead the devices division. As for Microsoft itself, CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to step down and retire next year, though a replacement is yet to be officially named. Nokia's Elop is viewed as the favourite in the running for the position at Microsoft.
What will Nokia be left with post-takeover? The Finnish company will focus on Nokia Solutions & Networks (NSN - previously Nokia Siemens Solutions), HERE services and mapping, as well as a licensing and development division.
Press Release from Nokia (link)
"Nokia Corporation, Stock exchange release
November 19, 2013 at 19.06 (CET +1)
Espoo, Finland -The Extraordinary General Meeting of Nokia Corporation held on November 19, 2013 ("EGM") decided to confirm and approve the sale of substantially all of Nokia's Devices & Services business to Microsoft in line with the proposal and recommendation of the Nokia Board of Directors. More than 99 % of the votes cast at the EGM were in favor of this proposal.
"This is a significant step forward for Nokia. We are delighted that shareholders have given us overwhelmingly strong support to proceed with this transformative agreement," said Nokia Board Chairman and interim CEO, Risto Siilasmaa. "Today's vote brings us closer to completing a transaction which will mark the beginning of the next chapter in Nokia's near 150-year history, offering the potential of greater value for shareholders," he said.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The transaction was originally announced on September 3, 2013. Further information on the transaction has been included in Nokia's releases concerning the transaction and the EGM dated September 3, September 19 and October 14, 2013 as well as the proxy materials that were made available ahead of the EGM."