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Germany approves Nokia's Symbian plan

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The Germany competition regular, the Bundeskartellamt, has approved Nokia's acquisition of Psion's stake in Symbian, which would double its share to 63.3 per cent of the company. Germany is the third country to give its approval to the deal. When Symbian was formed regulatory approval was sought because the three founding shareholders, Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson dominated the handset market in roughly equal parts. Since then however Motorola has sold its stake and Ericsson spun off its handset division, which now has a very much smaller market share.

However the most interesting part of the process may just be beginning. If shareholders Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Siemens and Matsushita all exercise their rights then Nokia's stake will be no more than 46.7 per cent. Ericsson has called on the others to increase their stakes, with Ericsson CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg saying that if Nokia gains more than 50 per cent, Symbian "becomes a Nokia platform. If that happens there will be a gradual deterioration in the view of Symbian".

The pre-emption process is expected to be completed early next month, Nokia said today. The other stakes are Ericsson with 17.5 per cent and Sony Ericsson with 1.5 per cent, Matsushita (7.9 per cent), Samsung (5 per cent) and Siemens (4.8 per cent) ®

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