Major Psion Shareholder Against Symbian Sell Off

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Though the company’s management supports it, not all of Psion’s shareholders are thrilled at the plan to sell its share of Symbian to Nokia.

In February, Psion announced that it is going to sell its portion of the Symbian software group to Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker. The purchase will bring Nokia’s ownership of this partnership to approximately 63 percent, give it controlling interest in the Symbian OS. However, this transaction is subject to approval by Psion’s shareholders.

Last week, Phoenix Asset Management revealed that it is going to vote against the deal at a special Psion shareholders meeting planned for this Friday, according to The Times Online. Phoenix owns 13.5 percent of Psion, so this is a major setback for the deal.

Phoenix’s unhappiness centers around the amount Nokia is paying for Psion’s 31.1 percent of Symbian. In the end, the transaction is going to be worth an estimated 135.7 million British pounds.

Instead of Psion selling out to Nokia, Phoenix wants the entire Symbian partnership to go through an IPO. Currently, all shares of Symbian Limited are owned by a group of smart phone makers, including Nokia, Psion, Sony Ericsson, Panasonic, Ericsson, Samsung, and Siemens. After an IPO, the ownership would be much more broad.

More Resistance

There’s more resistance to this deal coming from outside of Psion. The other members of Symbian have said they are going to try and prevent Nokia from getting a majority stake. At least one of them has expressed an interest in buying some of Psion’s shares, rather than them all going to Nokia.

David Potter, founder and chairman of Psion, said his company is getting out of the smart phone business and intends to use the money it gets from the Symbian sell-off to develop a series of sub-notebooks running the Linux operating system.

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