Eight months after Microsoft first announced its plan to buy Nokia’s device business for $7.2 billion, the two companies say the deal should go through next month. That’s slightly behind schedule after initially predicting the merger would be complete within the first three months of 2014, but not bad considering its global scope and massive scale.
In a public statement from Microsoft, the company says all that’s left is final approval from a few remaining markets. The deal previously ran into trouble in China over potential antitrust issues when local phone-makers pushed back out of fear that Nokia would begin charging more for the use of its mobile patents. However, Microsoft doesn’t list China, or any specific countries by name as the remaining holdouts.
Meanwhile, Nokia’s statement specifically denies that the deal faces any issues due to a recent ruling by India’s supreme court blocking the transfer of one of the company’s biggest factories to Microsoft. It’s possible the deal could go through without including the plant, though that could mean substantially less money for Nokia.
Speaking of April, Microsoft is expected to announce its long overdue Windows Phone 8.1 update next month during its BUILD conference, hopefully in addition to new hardware. Assuming the deal with Nokia goes through in time, it should be interesting to see how Microsoft balances its newly-acquired device business and its relationships with other phone-makers. We expect Microsoft to give us a fresh rundown of its future plans for Nokia’s handset business during that time.