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 turned 5 years old last week, ending agreements between founding shareholders Motorola, Nokia, Psion and Ericsson not to sell their stakes, according to a Psion spokeswoman.

Although Motorola is selling its stake in Symbian, that does not mark the end of the two companies' relationship, according to Motorola spokesman, Patrick Hamilton. Motorola released its first smart phone based on the Symbian OS last week, and would continue to use Symbian's software under license, he said.

The real focus of Motorola's smart phone development effort is 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, while Nokia's stake wouldincrease from 19 percent 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 US$473 million , according to Psion and Nokia.

Psion will 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 is subject to approval by regulators and the other shareholders, who have a right to preempt such sales. Nokia expects the deal to close in a matter of weeks, it said in a statement.

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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