Feb 26, 2020 - Technology

Report: Nokia exploring merger or asset sales

Photo: Nokia

Finnish network gear-maker Nokia has hired advisers to consider merger possibilities, asset sales or other strategic alternatives, according to a report Wednesday from Bloomberg.

Why it matters: Although Nokia has been struggling amid intense competition, it is one of only a handful of companies that make gear for 5G and other cellular networks, an area of increasing geopolitical focus and concern.

A Nokia representative was not immediately available for comment.

The big picture: The Trump administration, in particular, has been concerned with who builds and runs cellular networks, with Attorney General Bill Barr recently suggesting the U.S. find ways to take a stake in Nokia or Ericsson, which along with China's Huawei, is dominating the telecommunications equipment business.

Nokia is best known for its phones, although the company sold that business several years ago to Microsoft and used the brand to sell its Windows phones before exiting that business.

  • Now, Android phones are sold under the Nokia brand, but those are made by another company, HMD Global, under a licensing agreement.

Go deeper

Nokia appoints new CEO amid growing 5G competition

Photo: Zhang Yang/Huanqiu.com/VCG via Getty Images

Nokia chief executive and president Rajeev Suri will step down on Sept. 1 and be replaced by Fortum CEO Pekka Lundmark, the company announced on Monday.

Why it matters: Nokia is one of only a few companies that make gear for 5G and other cellular networks, an area of increasing geopolitical focus — and growing competition among these companies. It has also reportedly hired advisers to consider strategic moves like a merger or asset sales.

U.S. bans could make Huawei stronger

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S.'s blunt policy of walling itself off from Huawei could backfire, making the Chinese telecom giant even stronger in the long term.

Why it matters: The grand decoupling of American and Chinese tech amid trade tensions and cybersecurity concerns, of which Huawei is at the center, is pushing China's companies to become increasingly self-reliant. Huawei's progress could position it to take the lead in the global U.S.-China tech race, experts say.

Huawei makes its case against U.S. hostilities

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Two top Huawei U.S. executives are at the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week, hoping the crowd of security experts will be more receptive to its position than have been policymakers in Washington, where the Chinese giant has gotten an increasingly hostile reception.

The big picture: Huawei's business has been under all manner of attack from the U.S. government, from trade sanctions to criminal charges to efforts to persuade allies not to buy their gear.