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Nokia shareholders approve Microsoft deal

2013-11-20 09:07 Xinhua Web Editor: qindexing

Nokia shareholders approved the sale of its mobile phone business to Microsoft at an extraordinary general meeting held in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Tuesday.

About 5,000 shareholders of Nokia participated in the meeting, including the members of Board of Directors and the Executive Board of the company, as well as former CEO Stephen Elop.

The meeting lasted for about six hours and ended with 99.5 percent of votes supporting the sale.

After speeches given by the top officials, the shareholders began to raise tough questions, mainly concerning Elop's role in the company's decline, the price of the deal and the product portfolio in the future.

Risto Siilasmaa, Nokia Board Chairman and interim CEO, said that Elop worked diligently and he had never seen anyone working so hard for so long as Elop did.

On the price of the sale, Siilasmaa believed that Nokia got a good price, as the deal was based on market competition and no better price was given than Microsoft's offer.

Information security is a hot topic around the world recently. According to Siilasmaa, information security is precisely the opportunity for Finland, Nokia has already put it into its product portfolio.

Nokia's portfolio in the future will include network infrastructure, mapping technology and patents, in addition to information security.

"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 Siilasmaa when concluding the meeting.

"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 be completed in the first quarter of 2014. After that, Nokia's net cash position will be boosted to nearly 8 billion euros (about 10.8 billion U.S. dollars) from around 2 billion euros in the third quarter this year.

Nokia announced on Sept. 3 to sell its devices and services business and license its patents to Microsoft for 5.44 billion euros, after failing to recover from its continuous losses in the past two years.

Since the announcement of the deal, the company's share price has more than doubled and its market value has risen to 10 billion euros. (1 euro = 1.35 U.S. dollars)

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