Phone Deal

HELSINKI, September 3, 2013 (AFP) – Beleaguered Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia will sell its mobile phone unit to US group Microsoft for 5.44 billion euros ($7.17 billion), it said on Tuesday. NSN, which is specialised in high-speed mobile broadband, was set up as a joint venture between the two companies in 2007, a partnership that expired in April. The unit has posted stronger earnings than Nokia’s mobile phone business.

NSN posted a net profit of 8.0 million euros in the second quarter of this year, compared to Nokia’s net loss of 227 million euros in the same period. Nokia will grant Microsoft a 10-year non-exclusive licence to its patents and will itself focus on network infrastructure and services, which it called “the best path forward for Nokia and its shareholders.”

The company also announced the immediate departure of chief executive Stephen Elop. He will be replaced in the interim by Risto Siilasmaa, Nokia’s chairman of the board.

Nokia was long the global leader in making mobile phones but has been overtaken by rivals Samsung and Apple as it struggled to establish winning business models and mobile devices.

The transaction announced Tuesday is expected to be com