When it unveiled its restructuring process in November 2011, NSN announced a number of technology sectors that are no longer core to its strategy (including fixed VoIP, carrier Ethernet, IPTV and unified charging and billing), with some already the subject of divestment deals. (See below for more details.)
But it's likely that some non-core assets will not attract buyers and subsequently be closed down. So NSN wants to give those product lines an alternative lifeline by giving them the chance to break away as independent businesses, fuelled with some startup cash from Verso's Spin-off Fund. NSN says it will also license its technology to these startups.
However, NSN is only putting up to €10 million (US$12.3 million) into the fund and is therefore relying on external investors to inject additional capital to help fund the startups. So far there are no investment partners, though Finnvera , a state-owned Finnish investment firm that advised NSN on the creation of Verso, is a "potential" investor.
External funds look essential: NSN says it has already received about 40 applications for funding. Those are now being evaluated, with between 10 and 30 spin-offs to be created in the first phase, the vendor says. A spokeswoman gave smart-grid technology as an example of one area that was under consideration.
Why this matters
Without this scheme there's a chance that technology and business developments will be shut down, so this fund at least means there is a greater chance that people will continue to have a job, get the chance to further develop their existing plans (currently in limbo) and become entrepreneurs.
But while times are hard at NSN, €10 million, potentially split between up to 30 spin-offs (which may then be asked to pay licensing fees back to NSN), really doesn't sound like much of a commitment.
- NSN's Rajeev Suri: Restructuring, Research & Resilience
- NSN Unveils Its Kill List
- NSN to Cut 17,000 Staff
- Adtran to Buy NSN's Broadband Unit
- NSN to Sell WiMax Biz
- DragonWave to Acquire NSN Microwave Unit
- M&A Interest in NSN's BSS Assets Builds
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading