Nokia is one step closer to acquiring Psion's stake in Symbian after the sale was given the green light by the German government.
The German competition authority, the Bundeskartellamt, said the transaction would not restrict effective competition on the wireless OS market, according to a Nokia statement.
"We had been waiting on the approval from the German competition authorities, which was the last one required, and now the pre-emption process can begin," said Psion spokeswoman Emily O'Connell. The deal has already gained the required regulatory approval from competition authorities in Finland and Austria, she said.
Psion intends to sell Nokia its 31 percent stake in the wireless operating systems business Symbian, which would make Nokia the majority shareholder of Symbian, bumping its share from 32.2 percent to as high as 63.3 percent. For that, Nokia would pay Psion a fixed sum of £93.5 million and a variable payment of £0.84 for each Symbian OS-based device sold during 2004 and 2005.
With the final regulatory approval in place, there will be a seven-week period under which Symbian's other shareholders can exercise their pre-emption rights to buy a portion of Psion's stake in Symbian, something which Symbian shareholder, Swedish telecommunication equipment manufacturer Ericsson has indicated it intends to do.
Ericsson said in March that it would team up with Sony Ericsson in an attempt to block Nokia from gaining an outright majority interest in Symbian and to increase its combined ownership to 27.6 percent.
Nokia said it was pleased by the assessment from the German competition authorities that the transaction would not restrict effective competition in the wireless OS market and said it welcomed shareholders' participation. The company added that it expects the pre-emption process to be completed by mid-July. Other Symbian shareholders include Matsushita, Samsung and Siemens.
Symbian was launched in 1998, as an operating system software for smart phones, by several large handset manufacturers. It is facing increasing competition from other operating systems developed by companies such as Microsoft, Palm and PalmSource.