Stockholm-based private equity major EQT has agreed to buy a controlling stake in Vertu, the luxury handset unit of Nokia, as the Nordic mobile phone giant sells of non-core assets in a bid to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung.
The deal, which is understood to be valued at around €200m, will see the Nordic private equity heavyweight’s €4.75bn EQT VI fund clinch a 90 per cent stake in the business, while Nokia will retain the remaining ten per cent.
Vertu was founded in 1998 by Nokia and encrusts the company’s handsets with jewels and sells them for tens of thousands of pounds, primarily to customers in the Middle East and Asia.
The business employs around 1,000 and its products are sold in over 50 countries through own retail and trade partners’ stores. Vertu generated sales of €266m last year.
“EQT VI is excited about the opportunity to develop Vertu as a standalone company and drive the development of the luxury mobile phone category through significant investments in retail expansion, marketing and product development”, EQT partner Jan Ståhlberg said in a statement.
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