View Full Version : Other Symbian shareholders to block Nokia's purchase?


langdona
23-02-2004, 06:16 PM
This Register article (http://www.theregister.com/content/68/35731.html) along with some other sites are saying that the non Nokia Symbain owners could use their rights to restrict the purchase of Psions share of the company. If the other sites excise their right to buy part of the shares on offer then Nokia's total holding could be resticted to 46%.

martinharnevie
23-02-2004, 11:29 PM
This, if it is true, is of course very good news and a clear indication that worries expressed by various parties about the possibility of a Nokia controlling interest cannot easily be dismissed.

cheers
Martin

Orophin Anwarunya
01-03-2004, 02:49 PM
Well its about time the Symbian community pulled their fingers out and took some active involvement in things.

I hope things go well for them.:)

langdona
04-03-2004, 04:07 PM
Well this may all be academic if the Psion Shareholders reject the deal. According to this Reuters article (http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=WJ1QS3YTVAQY2C RBAE0CFEY?type=stocksAndSharesNews&storyID=469787&section=finance)

"Phoenix Asset Management, which owns 13.5 percent of Psion, said on Thursday it would vote against the sale and urged Psion to pursue a flotation of Symbian."

Ewan
04-03-2004, 05:22 PM
Originally posted by langdona
Well this may all be academic if the Psion Shareholders reject the deal... "...Phoenix Asset Management, which owns 13.5 percent of Psion, said on Thursday it would vote against the sale and urged Psion to pursue a flotation of Symbian."

Well they would say that simply so they can make more money. They'd rather the Psion Share Price goes up through Symbian flotation (then drops like a stone) rather than the 5p-10p dividened a sale o the Symbian shareholding would gather.

Frankly, in the long term, the mission goals of Symbian and Psion Teklogix are just too far apart to make them worthwhile partners and both comapnies would be better off going in their own directions.

langdona
04-03-2004, 08:23 PM
Originally posted by Ewan
Well they would say that simply so they can make more money. They'd rather the Psion Share Price goes up through Symbian flotation (then drops like a stone) rather than the 5p-10p dividened a sale o the Symbian shareholding would gather.

Ah but making money is normally the main objective of being a shareholder so you can't criticise them for that. An awful lot of people had invested in Psion purely because of their stake in Symbian. Psions actions seems to have been with no regard to its shareholders which is a dangerous thing to do.


Frankly, in the long term, the mission goals of Symbian and Psion Teklogix are just too far apart to make them worthwhile partners and both comapnies would be better off going in their own directions.

I partly agree. I think Psion have lost the plot as far as their own product line is concerned. I don't think they will ever become any more than a developer of niche products for niche markets. I think they made a big mistake with not pressing on with their Smartphone themselves after Motorola pulled out (I still think it was a potential huge hit). They did not pursue it because the did not think they could compete with the big phone companies. However this was about the same time as Sendo was starting up and although not huge yet they seem to be making steady progress in the handset market.

I dont agree that their holding in Symbian is a bad thing, mainly because I think it creates a more diverse ownership. Their objective has always been to take Symbian through to IPO once Symbian were in a suitable financial postion. I think most people want to see Symbian achieve this independance but I'm not sure that Symbian without Psion will have the same enthusiasm to float?

martinharnevie
05-03-2004, 02:48 AM
Frankly, in the long term, the mission goals of Symbian and Psion Teklogix are just too far apart to make them worthwhile partners and both comapnies would be better off going in their own directions.

While I agree in terms of shareholding, they should separate, I would put it slightly differently:

In the short term, and at this present point in time, Symbian and Psion Teklogix's mission goals are too far apart. Furthermore, Psion as a group, is simply too small today to be diversified. You can argue for hours about the reasons why this happened, what mistakes that were made etc, and of course people are asking why Psion couldn't do what, say, Sendo could do with an even smaller budget. But Psion today is what it is and no-one can rewind history.

In the longer term, however, Symbian is bound to realise the crucial importance that strong presence in the enterprise will have on overall sales. Enterprises, as well as organisations of mobile professionals, will find the Symbian platform more compelling if enterprise applications can relatively easily move across various types of devices, e.g. all the way from cost effective ("entry level") Series 60 devices and scale upwards to "netBook form factor Communicators" and "Teklogix 7535-type rugged handhelds/Communicators".

Therefore, Psion should have a strategic interest in remaining a licencee of Symbian and maintain the option to activate it not too far away in the future.

And Symbian should have a strategic interest to maintain organisations such as Psion as licencees and perhaps even consider a second licencing model targeting lower-volume-higher-royalty devices.

cheers
Martin

martinharnevie
05-03-2004, 02:59 AM
I dont agree that their holding in Symbian is a bad thing, mainly because I think it creates a more diverse ownership. Their objective has always been to take Symbian through to IPO once Symbian were in a suitable financial postion. I think most people want to see Symbian achieve this independance but I'm not sure that Symbian without Psion will have the same enthusiasm to float?

I believe balanced shareholding in Symbian is crucial for its long term success. This has less to do with its independence from a governance standpoint, i.e. technicalities about corporate governance, the "70% rule" etc, but more to do with goodwill and contribution from shareholders and licencees. That is not saying that governance is not important, of course it is, but other business law-of-nature factors are even more so.

But there are many other ways to resolve this problem than to persuade (or force) Psion to stay. In fact, I do not see Psion's pull-out as a bad thing per se, see my earlier comment. Psion's presence is not the only way of maintaining balanced shareholding.

For instance, given Symbian's growth in Asia - in terms of number of licencees, no of devices developed, no of devices sold - a stronger shareholding by Asian corporations would be an interesting alternative. Stronger shareholdings by companies like Samsung, LG, NTT (DoCoMo) and perhaps even NEC would not only off-set Psion's pullout, but also create a geographical balance. After all the Chinese, Indian and SE Asian emerging markets are enormous; we're talking about 3 billion people in total. That's where most of the growth will be in the future.

cheers
Martin

langdona
05-03-2004, 08:56 AM
Originally posted by martinharnevie
But there are many other ways to resolve this problem than to persuade (or force) Psion to stay.

People seem to forget nothing has been decided! The only thing that has happened is that the Psion board has put forward a proposal to its shareholders to sell its stake in Symbian. If they loose the vote I expect the board will change (thats why I used the word dangerous in my last message).

The problem with the ownership of Symbian is that without Psion its totally owned by handset manufacturors. This would be great apart from the fact that the phone network suppliers mistrust them. Thats why I think floating Symbain is essential as independance will give them (at least an impression) of anonymity. If I thought it was a long term (> 5 years) proposition for Psion to stay involved with Symbain then I would agree with you but if its just to take the company to IPO in a couple of years time then I don't think it matters.

Ewan
05-03-2004, 09:36 AM
Originally posted by langdona
The problem with the ownership of Symbian is that without Psion its totally owned by handset manufacturors.

Why is this a bad thing, given that Symbian create an Operating System for Smartphones and not PDA's, Sub notebooks, net books, etc anymore - and you can argue that it would be a good idea till you're blue in the face but that's what they do, see the mission statement, and I don't see that changing in the next 5-10 years.

martinharnevie
05-03-2004, 09:51 AM
If I thought it was a long term (> 5 years) proposition for Psion to stay involved with Symbain then I would agree with you but if its just to take the company to IPO in a couple of years time then I don't think it matters.

Andy, that's a good point. A couple of years shouldn't really matter, unless Psion is in panic cash-wise. That might in fact be the simple answer to the whole thing.

Here is from their Dec 2003 statement:

Net cash position: 17.4 million (down from 30.1 million the year previous)

Operating profit: 7.5 million (up from 5.1 million the year previous)

The total Motorola consideration: 17.5 million for 5.8% equity.

To this there are a number of risks to consider:

- further turbulence in Symbian shareholding
- falling US dollar eroding operating profits from Teklogix business
- imminent need for R&D investments in Teklogix to renew product portfolio
- further need for Symbian for capital injection commensurate with Symbian losses multiplied by shareholding

With a total turnover of about 140-150 million I would say Psion is balancing on a knife-edge if they're not acting. Extrapolate these figures and play around with various what-ifs and they might be in a serious cash-squeeze already in the third quarter 2004.

cheers
Martin

martinharnevie
05-03-2004, 10:17 AM
given that Symbian create an Operating System for Smartphones and not PDA's, Sub notebooks, net books, etc anymore

This is no issue really. "PDA-functionality" is a sub-set of "smartphone-functionality" anyway. A Series 90 or Series 80 device is just as much a PDA as the Psion 5mx ever was, and a UIQ device is not much far behind, it is just that they are extremely versatile phones as well. The PDA-only device is dead, and even the iPaq can nowadays double as a (very clumsy) phone.

I do not think anyone would be interested right now to change Symbian's mission. It has served them well and will likely continue to do so for several years.

cheers
Martin

martinharnevie
11-03-2004, 05:28 AM
A statement from the President of Sony Ericsson shows everything is not all singing and dancing among shareholders and licencees as some quarters have claimed:


""There are two important factors for Sony Ericsson with the Symbian OS," said Ihara. "It should be open to anybody. Not perceived as proprietary to a single manufacturer. [It also depends on] UIQ being developed within Symbian. As long as those two conditions are met, Symbian will remain our open platform of choice."

-Katsumi Ihara : Sony Ericsson President



Sony Ericsson Chief Outlines Symbian Hurdles

By Tony Cripps

The president of mobile phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB has revealed the two factors that are essential to his company's continued support of the Symbian mobile operating system.

He also cast doubt over claims that Symbian shareholders are completely happy with Nokia Corp's planned takeover of the company as had previously been reported.

Speaking during a question-and-answer session at the launch of Sony Ericsson's next batch of handsets, Katsumi Ihara told journalists that Symbian OS remained his company's favored smart phone OS. However, Ihara said the health of Sony Ericsson's relationship with Symbian hinged on the platform remaining open and an ongoing commitment from Nokia to Sony Ericsson's favored user interface option, UIQ.

"There are two important factors for Sony Ericsson with the Symbian OS," said Ihara. "It should be open to anybody. Not perceived as proprietary to a single manufacturer. [It also depends on] UIQ being developed within Symbian. As long as those two conditions are met, Symbian will remain our open platform of choice."
Ihara said discussions are in progress to meet these requirements, although he gave reason to question that a satisfactory outcome is guaranteed. "We are in talks with other shareholders as to how we can secure these two factors. We can't comment further on this point," he said.

Sony Ericsson is the most prominent supporter of UIQ, which offers a touch screen interface rather than the key-based interfaces of Nokia's rival Series 60 and Series 80 Symbian variants. There is clearly some concern that the UIQ software, developed by Symbian's own UIQ Technology subsidiary, may be de-emphasized by Nokia once it gains a controlling interest in Symbian.

Mention of Symbian had been notably absent from Sony Ericsson's main presentation, suggesting that further additions to Sony Ericsson's family of Symbian devices - the P800 and its recent replacement, the P900 - are not planned any time soon.

Instead, Sony Ericsson revealed a closer cooperation with co-owner Sony for its handset design. The most obvious beneficiary of Sony's increased input is the S700 camera phone. The handset, which is set to debut on GSM/GPRS networks in the fourth quarter, appears more like a Sony digital camera than a phone with the large display used offering a full landscape-mode user interface when the camera is activated.