Microsoft, Nokia Deal Almost Done

24/7 Wall St.

Nokia Corp. (NOK) announced Tuesday morning that the sale of virtually all the company's devices and services business to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) received approval from China's Ministry of Commerce and that the sale is expected to be completed later this month.

U.S. and European regulators have already given approvals for the $7.4 billion transaction, which will put Microsoft in the handset business competing with the likes of Apple Inc. (AAPL), Samsung Electronics and plenty of others.

As a condition for receiving approval from Chinese regulators, Nokia agreed that the company would make no significant changes in its current payment structure for standards-essential patents that the company owns. Likewise, Microsoft has agreed not to raise fees for its patents once the deal is complete.

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Chinese handset makers like Huawei Technologies had encouraged the government to extract these pledges from Microsoft and Nokia because the handset makers rely on cheap licensing of these basic patents in order to keep their costs low.

Nokia also said that the announcement clears the way for the company to reveal its new strategy and introduce its new CEO. Former CEO Stephen Elop will join Microsoft as head of its mobile division and get a $25 million payout from Nokia as a bonus.

When Nokia reported fourth-quarter earnings in January, the devices and services division's revenues were listed under discontinued operations. Sales totaled just $3.55 billion for the quarter and full-year sales from discontinued operations totaled just $14.6 billion.

Nokia shares traded up about 5.8% in the noon hour Tuesday, at $7.64 in a 52-week range of $3.02 to $8.20.

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