Motorola sells stake in Symbian consortium

Motorola sells stake in Symbian consortium

Motorola is negotiating the sale of its 19 per cent stake in Symbian to Nokia and Psion.

Smart phone OS (operating system) developer Symbian recently turned five years old, ending agreements between founding shareholders Motorola, Nokia, Psion and Ericsson not to sell their stakes, according to a Psion spokesperson.

Although Motorola was selling its stake in Symbian, that did not mark the end of the two companies’ relationship, according to Motorola spokesperson, Patrick Hamilton. Motorola released its first smart phone based on the Symbian OS recently, and would continue to use Symbian’s software under license, he said.

The real focus of Motorola’s smart phone development effort was Java, Hamilton said. “The actual operating system being used is not that relevant,” he said. “Our position on Java is not dependent on us using one OS. We will continue to use a number of operating systems.”

Those operating systems would include Symbian OS, Linux and one of Motorola’s own devising, Hamilton said.

The sale would raise Psion’s stake in Symbian from 25.3 per cent to 31.1 per cent. Nokia’s stake would increase from 19 per cent to 32.2 per cent, Psion said.

Motorola’s Hamilton confirmed those figures, but would not confirm the price Psion and Nokia would pay.

The agreed price values Symbian at $US473 million, according to Psion and Nokia.

Psion would pay Motorola $US27 million in cash for its share, it said.

The stakes held by Symbian’s other shareholders would likely remain unchanged, Hamilton said.

According to Psion, those stakes are 17.5 per cent for Ericsson, 7.9 per cent for Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), 5.0 per cent for Samsung Electronics, 4.8 per cent for Siemens and 1.5 per cent for Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications.

The deal was subject to approval by regulators and the other shareholders, who had a right to preempt such sales. Nokia expects the deal to close in a matter of weeks, it said.

Last week, Symbian reported that 2.68 million handheld devices using its software were shipped in the first half of this year, up from just 230,000 a year earlier.

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