Nokia, private equity chat about €200m bling phone firm sale
Vertu is its own reward?
Nokia's plan to sell off Vertu, its subsidiary that makes handsets for folk with so much money they don't even need sense, emerged back in December 2011. Now it looks like the sale may go ahead.
Talking to the Finnish phone giant is, one mole claims, Permira, a Europe-based private equity company. The alleged asking price: €200 million (£162m), the Financial Times reports.
Nokia previously discussed the matter with EQT, another private equity form, but, says the FT the outcome was not positive.
Vertu has long offered Nokia handsets hand-blinged up with precious metals, gems and grotesquely inflated prices - "If you have to ask, sir…" - that make Apple product look like thrift-store offerings.
That might not matter if they were jam-packed with advance technology, but the only thing that's truly cutting edge about these boys is the diamonds some are decorated with. Vertu didn't launch a smartphone until late 2010. Its first touchscreen model came out in 2011. ®
I was looking through the Vertu website and all I can say is wow those are some really ugly phones. I don't care if they're made from exotic materials or studded with rubies, IMO they're vulgar looking devices designed to appeal to vulgar rich people. Even assuming I was rich enough to be able to drop $4000+ on a phone I would still favour a regular phone over one of these.
Re: Fantastic News
Samsung makes Windows Phone devices too you know, e.g. Omnia 7. It's just they haven't lashed themselves to a burning deck while doing it.
Re: Good, good
And there I was thinking that El Reg was a discussion forum - and all the time it was just a who's-the-cleverest-clever-boy competition.
They actually start at about $5,000, but typical ones cost a lot more than that.. I've seen a couple listed for like $10,000-$20,000 *used*. Not my cup of tea.
One thing I can say, they aren't just taking a Nokia and gold-plating it. It's apparently pretty typical in the Vertu line for a phone to take like 1500 hours to assemble and about 500 hours to polish.
Re: What does the existence of Vertu say about rich people?
Only that spending a lot of money (by our standards) on crap doesn't matter to them. The rich and powerful people aren't buying this for themselves, they're buying it as gifts for wives, second wives, third wives, girlfriends, mistresses, (or if the R&P is female and hetero, buying for husbands, boyfriends, gigolos etc). Accordingly they know nothing about mobiles at all, and don't really care, because the gift is in the giving, added to which they probably didn't select it, buy it, box it or write the card themselves.
If you were rich and powerful enough to employ a personal arse-wiper, why would you need a mobile? There's always flunkies around to pass on messages, you probably don't want to speak to anybody who wants to speak to you, and my guess is that (say) Rupey Murdoch doesn't spend much time playing Angry Birds, or sending texts to Wendy "Caught out by British MP's, pls put dinner in oven, will be L8 home". But he might well instruct a flunky to buy her a bling phone as one of many birthday presents (until she's traded in for a newer model). And talking of Murdoch being rich, and spending money on crap, he spent $675m on buying his daughter's TV production company, much to other shareholder's delight and amusement, so paying a few grand for an out of date, vulgarised Nokia would seem both in keeping yet inconsequential.
However, I'd have thought that Virtu (or however they spell it) has much potential in Russia, and in the emerging Indian and Chinese markets, where brash oligrachs, up and coming entrepreneurs, successful crims and the like need to be able to show that they've got so much cash the don't care where it goes.
Mind you, I reckon that Claire's Accessories should partner up with Samsung, they'd probably make something more tasteful.