Nokia acquires Smarterphone AS, eyes feature phone rebound

Nokia has acquired Oslo, Norway-based cell phone operating system developer Smarterphone AS as it prepares to launch a reinvigorated attack on emerging markets. The transaction was completed in November 2011 according to major investor Ferd Capital, and the terms of the deal were not disclosed. Smarterphone AS has built a proprietary operating system that is designed to provide “highly advanced functionality on very moderate hardware.” While Nokia’s smartphone lineup is now powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, Smarterphone’s feature phone platform is seemingly well aligned with Nokia’s recent work on a secret platform that will bring enhanced capabilities to low-end hardware. BGR exclusively reported details surrounding the secret OS last September and again in October, though it is unclear whether the Finnish vendor plans to integrate Smarterphone’s platform with its own OS, or if the new platform will replace the software that Nokia had in development. Ferd Capital’s full press release follows below.

Ferd Capital sells Smarterphone AS to Nokia

05.01.2012

Ferd Capital has sold its portfolio company Smarterphone AS (Formerly Kvaleberg AS) to Nokia Corporation (OMX: NOK1V, NYSE:NOK, FWB: NOA3), the world’s leading producer of mobile phones. The transaction was completed in November 2011.

Smarterphone is based in Oslo, Norway and delivers an operating system for the feature phone segment of mobile handsets. The software makes it possible to deliver a user experience similar to smart phones on affordable hardware, and allows unique flexibility for tailoring handset software to different markets. Ferd Capital invested in the company in 2007 and has invested a total of 6,5 MEUR in the company.

“Egil Kvaleberg is a world class software architect and founder. His internationally recruited and unique team situated in Oslo has created an operating system for lower end mobile phone that provides highly advanced functionality on very moderate hardware” says Annar Bohn, Investment manager in Ferd Capital. “Our belief in the team, technology and the long term market for feature phones remains firm, and we believe the company has now found a fantastic new home with Nokia”, he continues.

“Ferd Capital is an active Nordic investor in both the venture and buy-out segments of private equity and see continued strong opportunities within both segments” says Bjørn Erik Reinseth, Partner in Ferd Capital. “Large international players acquiring Norwegian technology companies is a strong recognition and a good foundation for future innovation and growth “, continues Reinseth.

In addition to Ferd Capital, The company was also financed by Innovation Norway, Haavard Nord (Trolltech founder) and Lars Øberg. Carnegie acted as advisor to the selling shareholders.

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