U.S. Attorney General William Barr has said that the United States and its allies should buy a “controlling stake” in Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson in a bid to fight off the Chinese company, Huawei. While the move could make Nokia and Ericsson more competitive in the 5G space, it would also be hypocritical after the U.S. has repeatedly alleged that Huawei was too close to the Chinese government and military.
Barr made the comments at a conference concerned with Chinese economic espionage. He said the U.S. should align itself with the two European firms and that this could be done by America buying a controlling share of the firms’ stocks or having a consortium of private American and allied companies do it instead.
While explaining the move, he said:
“Putting our large market and financial muscle behind one or both of these firms would make it a far more formidable competitor and eliminate concerns over its staying power, or their staying power. We and our closest allies certainly need to be actively considering this approach.”
According to Reuters, both of these firms have a combined market capitalization of around $50 billion, it’s not clear where the United States plans to source the money from or whether foreign regulators would approve the sale. Neither Nokia nor Ericsson have commented on the reports but both of their share prices went up in European trading.