Home Industry Deals Update - Huawei backpedals on Nokia comments

Update - Huawei backpedals on Nokia comments

Reports that Huawei is thinking about buying Nokia have now been denied. Oops. Perhaps the Huawei man who said it ‘misspoke’.

Yesterday a senior Huawei executive said that the company is considering buying Nokia. Today a different senior Huawei executive said no.

In London yesterday Richard Yu, chairman of Huawei's consumer business group, said at the UK launch of the company’s Ascend P6 smartphone that: “We are considering these sorts of acquisitions. Maybe the combination has some synergies, but that depends on the willingness of Nokia. We are open minded.”

Then, a few hours later, Huawei’s vice president for external affairs, Bill Plummer said the company “has no plans to acquire Nokia”. In the meantime Nokia’s shares rose to $US4.12 on the comments, before dropping back to around $3.80 after the denials.

Is there fire behind the smoke? We have no way of telling, and Nokia is certainly not saying anything.

Company spokesman need to be careful what they say. Yu’s initial comments were quite specific. His comments were made at an open forum and published in London’s prestigious Financial Times newspaper. They come at a time when the Finnish mobile phone company, once the industry leader, is struggling to remain relevant. Of course his comments were going to have any effect.

In March similar thing happened with Lenovo and BlackBerry. Lenovo’s CFO Wong Wai Ming said in an interview with news agency Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland that Lenovo was “looking at all opportunities – BlackBerry and many others. We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders.”

He was subsequently forced to clarify his remarks, saying he was talking in a general sense. Nothing has subsequently happened, but the frenzy of the 24 hour new cycle is fed by all such comments.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.