HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia NOK1V.HE said it was still in talks with “multiple parties” about its stake in Nokia Siemens Networks, after a report that U.S. private equity firms had backed away from bidding for a majority stake.
The Financial Times reported on Thursday that Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR.N) and TPG TPG.UL decided not to bid for an NSN stake after failing to agree on a price and level of control over the company.
“As we have said earlier, there has been unsolicited interest in NSN and we continue to be in constructive talks with multiple parties,” Nokia said in a statement on Friday.
Nokia Siemens Networks was not available for comment. KKR, TPG and Siemens were also not available for comment.
Nokia and German industrial group Siemens merged their telecom equipment businesses on a 50-50 ownership basis in 2007 in a six-year deal, hoping to quickly reach double-digit margins, but the venture has struggled to make a profit.
The companies said last August they had started negotiations with private equity firms to sell a stake in the telecom gear venture.
The news of KKR and TPG’s withdrawal comes on the heels of Nokia CEO Stephen Elop denying rumors that the company -- once the undisputed global leader in mobile phones -- is for sale amid speculation that its plunging market value has made it a target.
Reporting by Helsinki Newsroom and Abhishek Takle in Bagalore; Editing by Hans Peters