Microsoft will finalize its acquisition of Nokia’s phone business in less than three weeks, but one movement hasn’t yet given up on keeping the company in Finland and stopping Microsoft from shutting out Android and Linux.
Nokita, a group headed by Finnish businessman and former Nokia employee J. Parda, plans to outbid Microsoft for Nokia by raising more than US$10.8 billion from accredited investors in increments of $6.75 million to $6.75 billion.
The group’s name, Nokita (meaning “bet higher” or “bid higher” in Finnish), projected that opening up Nokia to Android and Linux would make Nokia worth more than $31 billion in three years, giving investors a more than 300% return on their investments. So, to outbid Microsoft, Nokita is asking for the amount of Microsoft’s bid, plus about $2.7 billion in “transition costs.”
In SD Times’ interview with Parda, he explained those transition costs as “negative cash flow of the company—especially in the initial months in 2013 and early 2014—Microsoft-related fines and other costs, and reorganization expenses.” Parda believes Nokita can succeed in turning around Nokia by “offering higher prices for Nokia Mobile Phones. If our offer has better terms and prices than Microsoft, we are hopeful that the Nokia Board will accept our offer. To choose the best available offer is in the best interest of shareholders, and the board represents shareholders.”
The pitch to investors begins with a plan to open Nokia to the Android operating system and Linux variants running in their own “sandboxes,” but the campaign’s other points devolve into hollow buzzwords. Nokita plans to turn Nokia around with a “corporate culture reboot to 2002,” “cleaning up the organization,” and “streamlining decision-making” with a “new dream team” of unnamed executives, while “making the brand cool again” by organizing “the biggest launch event of mankind.”
Parda declined to reveal whether any investors had signed on yet.
As for the actual evidence Nokita provides to inform and inspire investors to shell out billions for a campaign that Parda refers to as “one of the greatest and most rewarding adventures of humankind, ever,” they’ve got a clichéd inspirational video and a memorandum riddled with unsupported statistics and errors.
At first glance, Nokita seems like a half-baked investment attempt based on shaky information and empty buzzwords, asking for a fortune and exploiting Finnish pride to keep Microsoft from acquiring Nokia. After giving the materials a good once-over, that’s exactly what it seems to be.
J. Parda is a former Nokia general manager who worked in Asian and Latin American operations. The memorandum calls him “arguably the most international business person in Finland” and “a world-famous thinker in the technology sector.” According to the video, a near-death experience in 2008 inspired him to make a difference… five years later by buying a mobile phone company.
“I realized that Nokia Mobile Phones could be wildly more profitable than the current offer price if the company would produce mobile phones and other devices with several operating systems,” Parda said in the interview. “Based on our assumptions, it appears that Nokia Mobile phones are more than four times more valuable if the ‘factory’ distributes and markets effectively Android and Linux products in addition to Microsoft products. ”
The “new Nokita dream team,” made up of “key talent acquired from all over the planet,” is not specified. The only characteristics given are that they’re “born international,” have “solid track records,” they “breathe Internet and software,” and they think “outside the outside of the box.” Yes, you read that right.
When asked to elaborate on who comprises the Nokita dream team, Parda said:
“We have mobilized the key power players behind The Nokita Revolution. Behind these key players are mobilized variety of organizations and other parties that have staff in thousands if not tens of thousands,” he said.
The only other details Parda gave were that the dream team has “experienced international business leaders that have impressive track records globally from Nokia and other IT and Telecom key ventures, who see the value of secure phones and other devices that restore our right to privacy” and “see the value in fun and educative mobile ecosystem.”
The memorandum’s charts of valuation percentages and cash-flow statistics have no citations proving any sort of legitimacy, and the same goes for claims that Nokita will create “the best mobile games,” “the best infotainment software,” and provide complete safety from viruses and malware. Explaining how Nokita will augment mobile security, Parda again taked about Finland’s “well-developed IT security cluster,” presented without any tangible details.
“It is possible to create end-to-end security to mobile phones and other devices,” he said. “We plan to introduce mobile phones that are the most secure and restore our right to privacy. This is an aspiration practically every citizen of the world wants, and we are certain such products have high market potential. Who would not want to have a safe phone, when one could choose from two identical phones, where one is safe and other one is not?”
There are some reasonable points buried in Nokita’s campaign. Nokia’s exclusive deal with Windows phones may seem limiting, while Android and other operating systems control much greater worldwide market shares. But Microsoft was the company that bailed Nokia out in 2011 to begin with, when Windows Phone replaced Symbian and MeeGo on Nokia devices.
“For almost 20 years, Nokia mobile phones have been a way of life for the planet, but the last few years it has been in trouble,” says Parda in the video. Companies like Apple and Google weren’t lining up to partner with Nokia back then, when its lack of smartphone innovation put it in jeopardy of falling into BlackBerry-level obscurity. If only that point wasn’t muddled in 38 pages of unsubstantiated nonsense.
The campaign will end one way or another on Nov. 19, when Nokia’s board plans to finalize the Microsoft purchase.