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Nokia Siemens Networks Confirms Unsolicited Private Equity Interest

Barely a month after breaking off from Motorola in a $1.2 billion deal, Nokia Siemens Networks said it has received unsolicited interest from private equity firms and has pledged to create a "Smartphone Experience Lab" at Telefonica facilities in Madrid. The company, which landed a $7 billion contract to build a nationwide 4G/LTE combo terrestrial-satellite network earlier in the summer, has been seeking new financing, which would be welcomed as mobile markets seek to cope with the rapid growth of smartphones.

"Smartphones are taking off everywhere and Spain happens to be one of the fastest growing markets, outpacing Germany, Sweden, the UK and the US," said Nokia Siemens Networks CEO Rajeev Suri at a Spanish telecoms gathering in Madrid this week. "Networks need to transform -- now -- to cope with the huge amounts of signaling and data traffic smart devices generate."

Suri said the company will work to cope with the coming mobile data explosion while preparing carriers for the rollout of LTE networks. Pointing to interest from private equity firms, Suri said: "I take this unsolicited interest as a testament to the progress we are making."

NSN is integrating about 7,500 former Motorola employees even as it has laid off a few thousand of its employees before the takeover of the Motorola operation. New financing could help NSN in its effort to build the LightSquared network, which is being promoted by private equity firm, Harbinger Capital Partners. LightSquared's business plan calls for building a terrestrial network of 40,000 cellular base stations that will cover 92% of the US population base. SkyTerra satellites are expected to provide satellite links to the network.


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