Minority shareholders in mobile phone operating system developer Symbian Ltd might take up their options to buy a portion of the shares to be sold by Psion Plc in order to prevent dominant shareholder Nokia Corp gaining a controlling 63.3% stake in the company.
Ever since Nokia announced a deal earlier this month to buy Psion’s 31.1% stake in the company for 135.7m pounds ($252.4m), there have been rumors of discontent from the other shareholders. Now rumblings at the GSM world congress in Cannes suggest that they might use their right to buy a pro rata portion of any shares put up for sale. If all shareholders took this course, it would keep Nokia’s shareholding below the 50% level.
The only public statement of discontent came from the head of Siemens’ mobile unit ICM Rudi Lamprecht who said last week: Nokia taking over 60% is not something we like very much. We believe in a more equal footing.
Other Symbian shareholders are Ericsson (17.5%), Panasonic (7.9%), Samsung (5%), Siemens (4.8%), and Sony Ericsson (1.5%).
Certainly the company appears to be a less risky investment, and released figures showing that revenue in its fourth quarter to December 31 was $15m, up 59.6% on the previous quarter and 51.5% higher than the same period the previous year.
The company is aiming for profitability by the end of this year and CEO David Levin said the longer term prospects for the company are positive but at this early stage of market development, they remain subject to considerable uncertainty.
Total shipments of Symbian OS phones reached 6.67 million last year and passed the one million mark for the first time in December. Royalty payments have increased sharply from an average of $5.50 a unit at the end of 2002 to current figure of $7.25 for version 7.0 onwards.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire