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Microsoft shareholders can blame Asian regulators for the delayed finalization of the company’s Nokia purchase.
The two companies expect Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s device and services business to close in April 2014, Microsoft and Nokia jointly announced on Monday. They had originally forecast a closure date within the first quarter of 2014.
Both companies remain committed to the transaction, according to a statement from Nokia, which clarifies that its ongoing tax disputes with the government of India didn’t affect the closure date. Instead, Nokia highlighted “certain antitrust authorities in Asia which are still conducting their reviews” as the cause.
“We are nearing the final stages of our global regulatory approval process — to date we have received approvals from regulatory authorities in 15 markets on five continents,” wrote Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft, in a blog post. “Currently, we are awaiting approval confirmation in the final markets.”
Analysts view the delay as a red flag, speculating that Nokia may need to make concessions in order to push the deal through. On the top of that list is license fees it charges on patents it will continue to hold following the deal closure. Both Google and Samsung have asked Chinese regulators to ensure that Nokia can’t push up licensing fees of its remaining patents following the Microsoft buy.
Microsoft originally announced its $5 billion Nokia purchase in September 2013. The deal will not only give Microsoft complete control of Nokia’s handset-making business but also the ability to use the company’s patents and mapping services. Microsoft spent another $2.17 billion licensing Nokia patents.
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