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Nokia shareholders to back Microsoft sell-off



Between a rock and a hard place

Shareholders of the former rubber boot maker Nokia are likely to back a sell off deal to Microsoft today. The deal's financial benefits are likely to outweigh resistance from a minority of investors upset over the deal.

Nokia agreed in September to sell its devices and services business and license its patents to Microsoft for $7.36 billion after failing to recover from a late start in smartphones. The sale will boost Nokia's net cash position to nearly 8 billion euros from around 2 billion in the third quarter and allow it to return cash to shareholders, possibly through a special dividend.

Without the loss-making handset business, the remaining company will earn over 90 percent of sales from telecom equipment unit Nokia Services and Networks (NSN) and will also include a navigation software business and a trove of patents.

While approval from shareholders is considered a done deal, Tuesday's meeting, which starts soon in Helsinki's Ice Hall arena, will also be a chance for some shareholders to vent their anger in a Finnish way.

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