Microsoft “held talks” to acquire Nokia’s handset business

Microsoft held talks with Nokia about buying its handset unit, but stopped short of a deal after disagreements over price.

The pair discussed an acquisition as recently as this month, sources told the Wall Street Journal, but are unlikely to seal a deal after Nokia set the price too high. The rumours follow reports that rival manufacturer Huawei also expressed interest in buying Nokia, though it isn’t clear how the Chinese firm would afford it.

The sources didn’t say how much Nokia had asked for, but Nokia is currently worth about $14.3 billion, and makes half its revenue from its handset division.

Microsoft also reportedly rejected a deal on the basis of Nokia’s flagging handset market share, which Gartner statistics show has dwindled from around 20% in the first three months of 2012 to 15% a year later.

This isn’t the first time there have been rumours of a Microsoft-Nokia deal following the firm’s partnership in 2011.

Shortly after the partnership was established, Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop hit back at rumours he was about to sell the firm, suggesting it would cause massive upheaval.

“To the extent that a partnership has been formed around what they’re really interested in, then what would an acquisition bring other than a good year of antitrust investigation, huge turmoil and delays?” he said.

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