It has been reported that Siemens has approached several private equity firms to gauge interest in purchasing its Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) venture. Potential buyers are said to include TPG, Blackstone Group and KKR & Co, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper notes the venture could be worth as much as $9.36bn and would be an attractive prospect for public investors. The FT reported back in January that the business would look to raise €700 million.
The paper's sources also threw up another possibility that Siemens could well sell its stake in the venture. While Siemens is looking to get out of the venture, Nokia appears to want to hold onto the mobile network equipment and services business. We've previously covered NSN propping up revenues in financial reports during Nokia's troubled switch to Windows Phone.
Last quarter NSN contributed €210m to Nokia's net cash position with revenues of €2.8bn, which put the business on par with Nokia's device and services division. The Wall Street Journal also notes NSN's share of Nokia's overall revenues has increased to 46 percent, compared to just 30 percent when Nokia CEO Stephen Elop arrived. The CEO has also been at the driving seat with the restructure of NSN, aiming for annual operating expense rate of €1bn less than in 2011.
Nokia could well be reaching out to Finnish sovereign-wealth fund Solidium to aid a plan to buy out the Siemens stake in NSN. This could prove to be a difficult move if the European Commission views it as a form of state aid. A more likely option could be if Siemens or Nokia fail to secure other possibilities, is an IPO (initial public offering) of NSN shares, which analysts believe could value the business at between €7.1 and €7.5 billion (including debt). We could then see the general public able to lend a helping hand through the purchase of shares.
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