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Nokia Advances Most in Five Months on Takeover Speculation

Nokia Advances Most in Seven Months on Takeover Speculation
A Nokia 110 mobile handset, produced by Nokia Oyj, is held by an employee during the company's media launch in Karachi, Pakistan. Photographer: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg

Nokia Oyj, the mobile-phone maker struggling to recover lost market share, jumped the most in five months as investors speculated the company may receive a takeover bid.

The stock advanced 6 percent, the most since Jan. 5, to close at 2.36 euros in Helsinki.

Nokia had declined 41 percent this year before today as consumers snapped up Apple Inc. iPhones and smartphones running on Google Inc.’s Android software. Espoo, Finland-based Nokia is rebuilding its smartphone business around the Windows Phone software from Microsoft Corp., which has been speculated to be a possible acquirer, Exane BNP Paribas said today in a note.

“A lot of names have been mentioned as potential bidders,” said Bo Nordberg, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity Ltd. in London. “I am sure someone is looking at it, but it is not particularly compelling. Even among the analyst community the feeling is quite skeptical about the outlook for the company.”

Doug Dawson, a Nokia spokesman, declined to comment on the share-price movement or any speculation regarding mergers and acquisitions. Microsoft representatives in London said they wouldn’t comment on rumor or speculation.

Nokia Siemens

Nokia has lost more than 70 billion euros ($87 billion) in market value since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, taking the lead in smartphone innovation. Samsung Electronics Co. overtook Nokia in the first quarter as the world’s largest handset maker, according to Gartner Inc.

“With the stock trading just above 2 euros, it’s obvious that there is more value than that in the assets and it’s not difficult to understand how rumors like this make the stock jump,” said Haakan Wranne, an analyst at Swedbank Markets in Stockholm.

Nokia and Siemens AG last year ended talks to sell their unprofitable network-equipment joint venture, Nokia Siemens Networks, to private-equity buyers.

“Interest in NSN should not be excluded,” Exane said in the report. “Getting NSN’s worldwide footprint could prove attractive for Samsung.”

An external spokeswoman for Samsung in London said the company doesn’t comment on market speculation.

Nokia is 16 months into a transition triggered by its decision to abandon its homegrown smartphone operating system in favor of Windows Phone, an attempt to challenge Apple and Android.

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