Vertu said to be offloaded by Nokia: report

Nokia is reportedly looking to sell its luxury brand Vertu to a private equity group for about €200 million (AU$255 million).

The once-dominant mobile phone maker is in advanced negotiations with Permira to unload the UK-based subsidiary, which is best known for offering US$20,000 phones, the Financial Times reported (subscription required). Goldman Sachs is reportedly advising on the sale.

Earlier this year, the luxury phone maker launched a trio of phones to welcome the Year of the Dragon, complete with precious stones and top-grade metals, plus a hand-engraved, four-claw dragon on the battery cover.

Following a similar move by Fitch Ratings last week, Standard & Poor's on Friday cut the rating for the Finnish mobile phone maker to "junk". The weaker rating reflects a lower estimate for sales from Nokia's handset division this year, along with a revised forecast on profits and cash flow.

Earlier this month, Nokia reported a US$1.76 billion loss for its first quarter as its Symbian phones continue to shed market share. The company has been hedging its bets on its new Windows Phone-based Lumia handsets, but sales have yet to take off on a global scale.


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