Nokia Corporation, once the world's dominant mobile handset maker is in talks to sell its UK luxury phone unit Vertu to private equity firm Permira for approximately €200 million ($265 million), consistent with company's strategy of disposing of non-core assets, Financial Times reported.
Espoo, Finland-based Nokia launched its UK subsidiary Vertu in 1998 to cater to the growing demand for luxury phones targeting wealthy and status-conscious customers. The phones, hand-made and studded with crystal and precious stones cost up to €245,000 ($325,000).
London-based Permira, a €20-bn private equity firm, already owns luxury brands such as Hugo Boss and Valentino.
According to Financial Times, EQT, a Swedish private equity firm and few other luxury goods companies have also shown interest in Vertu.
Goldman Sach is advising Nokia on the potential deal, outcome of which is not yet known. Both Nokia and Permira declined to comment on the matter.
Last week, rating agency Standard & Poor's slashed Nokia's rating from 'BB+' to ''BBB-'' indicating highest speculative grade or ''junk'' status due to lower expectations on revenue.