Nokia in advanced talks to sell luxury Vertu unit: FT

LONDON Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:58pm EDT

A Vertu Signature mobile phone costing over 9,500 euros ($13,500) is displayed at the Nokia flagship store in Helsinki September 29, 2010. REUTERS/Bob Strong

A Vertu Signature mobile phone costing over 9,500 euros ($13,500) is displayed at the Nokia flagship store in Helsinki September 29, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Bob Strong

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LONDON (Reuters) - Cellphone maker Nokia (NOK1V.HE) is in advanced talks to sell its UK subsidiary Vertu to private equity group Permira PERM.UL, the Financial Times reported.

Nokia, which last week had its credit rating cut to "junk" status by ratings agency Standard & Poor's, will raise about 200 million euros ($265.19 million) from a potential sale, the FT said in a piece published on its website on Sunday.

People familiar with the talks were cited as saying Goldman Sachs (GS.N) was advising to oversee the sale, but said the outcome was not yet certain.

Vertu and Permira were not available for comment.

EQT, the Northern European private equity group, has also been in talks about buying the group, although those close to the process, cited by the FT, say that these are not progressing at this stage.

Nokia, once the world's dominant mobile phone provider, first signaled its intention to sell its luxury subsidiary Vertu in December.

Vertu makes some of the most expensive cellphones in the world by hand, which can feature crystal displays and sapphire keys. Its cellphones can cost more than 200,000 pounds due to the precious metal components.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Diane Craft)

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