Nokia Sign

You know that Nokia Vertu handset that popped up earlier today running Windows Phone 8 Apollo? Well, there’s a good chance it will never materialize. As yesterday’s reports predicted, Nokia just sold 90% of its stake in Vertu to private equity firm EQT.

You may not have heard of Vertu devices, because they are so expensive only the rich and famous have any real interest in them. Some handsets can sell for more than $325,700, but for that you do receive a crystal display and sapphire keys. (As if you need them!) Annual revenue for the Vertu business has been estimated at around €200 million to €300 million (approx. $488 million).

The Finnish firm has chosen not to disclose how much Vertu sold for, but according to recent reports, it may have received around €200 million (approx. $249 million). The press release does reveal, however, that Nokia will maintain a 10% stake in the company.

Despite the sale, Nokia still can’t afford to keep running as it has been, and it has also announced plans to lay off around 10,000 employees worldwide and reshuffle its executive team by the end of 2013. This will, according to the company, allow it to “sharpen” its strategy and improve its operations.

Despite a relatively successful start for its Windows Phone devices — especially in the U.S. — Nokia is still struggling to keep its ship afloat. It has been rapidly losing market share to devices from the likes of Apple, Samsung, and HTC, and one market intelligence firm recently downgraded its shares to “junk” status.

Nokia is hoping its plan will reduce operating costs by €1.6 billion (approx. $2 billion), reducing its total costs for 2013 to around €3 billion (approx. $3.78 billion). That’s significantly less than the €5.25 billion (approx. $6.6 billion) it spent in 2010.

Of those 10,000 staff set to go, three will be executives, including Jerri DeVard, chief marketing officer; Mary McDowell, executive vice president of mobile phones; and Niklas Savander; executive vice president of markets.

Nokia’s latest cuts bring its total number of layoffs to 40,000 since 2010.

[via TechRadar]