Nokia Loses Interest in Luxury Phones, Dangles Vertu Unit to Prospective Buyers

Paul Lilly

Nokia has enough on its plate with trying to stay relevant in the smartphone market and gearing up for the U.S. launch of its first Windows Phone. Trying to sell mobile phones that cost tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars? Nokia's done with that and is reportedly looking for a buyer to snatch up its luxury Vertu subsidiary known for selling cell phones at outlandish prices.

Vertu's Signature Cobra was a $310,000 cell phone launched in 2006 and ranks as the company's most expensive cell phone to date. There are plenty of more 'affordable' models in Vertu's cell phone stable, like the $13,300 Signature Stainless Steel or $6,200 Constellation (Vertu's first full touchscreen handset).

Nokia created the luxurious brand in 1998, and now the Finnish phone maker is ready to give up its bling so it can focus its efforts on rebuilding its own brand. According to a report in the Financial Times , Nokia has hired Goldman Sachs to oversee the sale.

It's unclear how much Nokia is hoping to fetch, though Vertu's annual revenue is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $268 million to a little over $400 million, FT said. Vertu has a presence in more than 60 countries and reportedly doubled its sales growth in 2010.

Image Credit: Vertu

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