Nokia Siemens Networks is rumoured to be seeking a renegotiation the terms of its bid to acquire Motorola’s wireless network assets. The planned deal, valued at $1.2bn, has been moving at a glacial pace since its inception in July last year, thanks largely to the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Bureau’s (MOFCOM) reluctance to approve it.
Given what, to many, appears to be some strategic foot dragging on the part of the Chinese, Bloomberg is reporting that “two people close to the situation” now say that NSN is seeking to exclude Motorola’s GSM assets from the deal and lower the price accordingly in order to get the wheels moving again.
NSN has declined to comment on the matter. Last week the vendor said that it will be unable to close the deal in the first quarter of this year as planned because MOFCOM, which is part of the Ministry of Commerce, was taking longer than expected to complete its review of the acquisition. NSN has given no indication of when the deal will be closed, stating only that it is in “phase three” of MOFCOM’s review process; Motorola has said that this review process has been extended by anything up to a further 60 days.
The rumours and delays are set against a backdrop of conflicts between Chinese state and industry and its Western counterparts. Chinese vendor Huawei recently won an injunction in the US relating to the NSN sale, requiring proof that intellectual property it had licensed to Motorola would not transfer to NSN as part of the impending deal. Huawei itself was recently forced to withdraw from its acquisition of 3Leaf by the US Committee on Foreign Investment, prompting the firm’s chairman to write an open letter to US authorities challenging them to present proof that Huawei has links to Chinese military and intelligence services – accusations that have dogged the vendor as it seeks to build its business in the West.
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