Microsoft’s takeover of Nokia’s devices and services business is one step closer to completion.
Nokia’s shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the $7.2 billion deal today, reports the Financial Times. 99.7 percent of investors, accounting for four-fifths of Nokia’s shares, voted for the deal.
Announced back in September, the deal will see Microsoft pay $5 billion for Nokia’s devices division and $2.18 billion to license Nokia’s patent portfolio. Microsoft will also license Nokia’s extensive mapping technology. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, but Microsoft is still waiting for approval from European regulators (they have until December 4 to issue a ruling).
While Nokia will still hold onto its own brand, Microsoft will get its Lumia and Asha phone line brands, which cover Windows Phones and low-end smartphones, respectively. The deal further cements Nokia’s former CEO, Stephen Elop, as one of the leading candidates to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft’s CEO. Elop went from Microsoft to Nokia, where he spearheaded the deal to make Nokia the leading provider of Windows Phone handsets.