Siemens has reportedly contacted private equity firms to gauge their interest in buying Nokia Siemens Networks or, as a less likely alternative, taking over the German telecom equipment-maker’s stake in the NSN venture, according to The Wall Street Journal. For its part, Finnish cellphone-maker Nokia reportedly has been exploring buying out Siemens’ 50% stake in the company. Some analysts have valued the company as a whole at nearly $9.4 billion.
The catalyst for the recent exploration of alternatives for NSN is a change in April in the shareholder agreement that frees each partner to explore options for its stake without the risk of a veto from the other party. Still, it is unclear how Nokia would view a possible sale of all or part of NSN to private-equity investors.
Siemens Chief Financial Officer Joe Kaeser earlier this year said NSN “is not a business that we have any aspirations to stay [in]…and I do believe that 2013 will be the time for Siemens to help NSN to move to a better place.”
People familiar with the matter told the WSJ that Nokia is exploring a possible buyout of its 50-50 German partner in NSN. Evidently, Nokia wants to keep NSN mobile network equipment and managed services business, which has propped up revenues and helped maintain cash levels during Nokia’s shift to Windows Phone. NSN had sold its optical network equipment business this past December to private investment firm Marlin Equity Partners.
Last quarter, NSN contributed €210m to Nokia’s net cash position with revenues of €2.8bn, putting it on a par with Nokia’s device and services sales of €2.88bn.