Nokia, Siemens to share proposed product plan

In another sign that Nokia Corp. and Siemens AG are confident that the merger of their network equipment divisions will go through, the companies announced they will start sharing their proposed product portfolio in early February.

The release of the product portfolio will help customers by providing them with clarity about the company's future portfolio plans, the companies said.

The merger, announced last June, combines the network businesses of both vendors, including their fixed and mobile equipment groups. The combined company would offer fixed-mobile convergence products, a global base of customers and a large service organization, they said at the time.

The release of a planned product portfolio may indicate that the companies believe the merger will close soon, following the completion of a recently announced compliance review. In December, the companies said that the merger would not close by the end of 2006, as expected, because they had decided to execute a compliance review spurred by a corruption investigation at Siemens.

Nokia's chief executive last week expressed his confidence in the merger and an impending close of the deal. "I'm more convinced of the business logic now than I was in the summer last year," Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia's chief executive officer, said. "We estimate to close the transaction as we earlier communicated during the course of this quarter."

The release of the product portfolio will also help the companies determine which workers are likely to be laid off, they said. The companies expect to reduce the headcount at the new company by 6,000 to 7,500 people.

Antitrust organizations in the U.S. and European Union have already approved the merger and executive leaders for the new company have been appointed.

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