Nokia completes Vertu sale - but will Vertu go Android?

As Nokia continues to restructure itself into a leaner, more efficient operation, the divestment of its non-core assets has been a key component of this process. Recently, the company confirmed plans to sell off and then lease back its global headquarters in Espoo, Finland - potentially raising over $300m - as it seeks every potential opportunity to top up its dwindling cash reserves and maintain liquidity, as its Windows Phone strategy is taking much longer to succeed than the company had previously hoped.

A major asset that Nokia has been planning to offload for some time is its Vertu luxury handset division. We reported way back in April that Nokia was seeking a buyer for Vertu, and Nokia itself confirmed this a few weeks later in June.

The sale of Vertu to private equity firm EQT VI has finally been completed for an undisclosed sum, although back in April, the company was believed to be worth around €200m EUR ($259m USD / £161m GBP at today's exchange rates); at that time, The Financial Times suggested that the real value of Vertu lay not in its handsets, but in its brand equity. Nokia will retain a 10% stake in the divested company.

Vertu has become famous for selling devices that offer little in terms of technological superiority, but which focus on superlative materials, including precious stones, metals and composites. Many of the company's handsets sell for a few thousand dollars, but some have reached truly stratospheric prices; a diamond-clad device was once available for over $300,000 (£187,000 / €231,000).

 
Don't count on it - a Vertu Windows Phone is looking increasingly unlikely

But while Vertu's customers may care more about what their phone looks like than what OS it runs, the company will know that it can't rely on the aging Symbian platform indefinitely. TechCrunch sources claim that Vertu's new phones will run Android - perhaps in part due to some lingering bitterness on the part of Anssi Vanjoki, the former Nokia executive who is expected to be named Vertu's CEO, and who was passed over for promotion to become Nokia's CEO in favour of Stephen Elop, who went on to lead the company into its stalled Windows Phone strategy.

Given the relative rarity of Windows Phones on the market - certainly compared with Android, which is expected to reach a billion activated devices next year - Windows Phone would certainly be a much more exclusive offering to Vertu's customers than the increasingly ubiquitous Google OS.

In mid-June, images emerged purporting to show a Vertu Windows Phone 8 handset, but nothing has been heard of this device since.

Source: Nokia | via TechCrunch

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19 Comments

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It would be great if these guys picked up Meego. Not even kidding. All Vertu phones come with a concierge service, they don't need to be smartphones at all. That's why david beckham and other celebrities have Vertu's. Meego would be a great and responsive OS for that purpose, nevermind about the lack of apps either (although this could give opportunity for the platform to grow).

Indeed, Android will give them the ability to introduce their own launchers/UI along with some bloatware. They should use stock Android imo.

Ballmer: Ha! $300,000 fully subsidized for a phone? That is the most expensive phone in the world, and it doesn't appeal to business customers because it doesn't have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine.

Majesticmerc said,
Why do people buy Rolexes when a £10 Casio will do the same job?

They are £5 these days, been using them for years, awesome watch,

Majesticmerc said,
Why do people buy Rolexes when a £10 Casio will do the same job?
Because (some?) Rolexes have gold in them and they're generally not overdesigned pieces of poo.

Majesticmerc said,
Why do people buy Rolexes when a £10 Casio will do the same job?

I think you'll find that my Oyster has outlasted many of my friends £10 Casio junk watches. That's not to say they are better, they are simply targeted at different markets and usages.

LauRoman said,
Because (some?) Rolexes have gold in them and they're generally not overdesigned pieces of poo.

you don't have a clue what you're talking about. what about the stainless steel ones? how about the ones that have ****ty ass diamonds or gems covering the whole watch.. not over designed... theres a market for it and you guys are certainly not their target.

LauRoman said,
Because (some?) Rolexes have gold in them and they're generally not overdesigned pieces of poo.

Not in all cases (see: http://www.luxist.com/2010/01/...est-rolex-yours-for-46-000/).

nik louch said,
I think you'll find that my Oyster has outlasted many of my friends £10 Casio junk watches. That's not to say they are better, they are simply targeted at different markets and usages.

I meant no offence. I just meant that in general this kind of thing isn't bought for it's functionality or aesthetics, but as a status symbol. This is something that could be said for Rolexes too (although I'm more a Breitling man myself). My £100 Accurist watch looks great, and will likely last just as long as a Rolex worth 10x that, but the Rolex has the smooth second hand motion, and is a status symbol for people who can afford to buy one because it's indicative of wealth (or in some cases, growing debt).

Majesticmerc said,
Why do people buy Rolexes when a £10 Casio will do the same job?

because Rolex's are extremely well made and cost $ for a reason.

linsook said,

you don't have a clue what you're talking about. what about the stainless steel ones? how about the ones that have ****ty ass diamonds or gems covering the whole watch.. not over designed... theres a market for it and you guys are certainly not their target.

Wanna bet those diamond ones aren't a main part of the producer's bottom line. Most (real) Rolexes sold aren't aimed at puff diddy dog and nate lion or pink shirted morons.

Majesticmerc said,

Not in all cases (see: http://www.luxist.com/2010/01/...est-rolex-yours-for-46-000/).

I meant no offence. I just meant that in general this kind of thing isn't bought for it's functionality or aesthetics, but as a status symbol.

Yeah but i don't think that the Vertu is a status symbol right now it's just a fugly phone.

A custom iphone with some gold and diamonds added would be much more of a status symbol.