Siemens buy-in places £285m valuation on Symbian

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Symbian, the technology company owned by Psion and leading mobile phone makers including Nokia and Motorola, yesterday added Siemens to its list of investors.

The German electronics giant and mobile phone maker said its mobile division, Siemens Information and Communication Mobile, had agreed to buy a 5 per cent stake in Symbian for £14.25m, putting a valuation on the business of £285m.

The move comes just three months after Symbian secured an extra £20.75m of new funding from its existing investors and a month after it poached Psion's chief executive, David Levin, as its new boss. "This commitment together with the recently completed funding in which all shareholders took up their pre-emption rights demonstrates Symbian's leadership and wide support in the mobile industry," Mr Levin said.

The move will see Psion's 28.1 per cent stake in the business diluted to 26.6 per cent. Motorola, Nokia and the Sony Ericsson joint venture – which each hold 21 per cent of Symbian – will see their holdings fall to 20 per cent. Matsushita will see its 8.9 per cent stake fall to 8.4 per cent.

Symbian, whose operating system sits inside mobile phones and handheld devices, is striving to make its technology the industry standard in next generation devices. It competes with Microsoft, among others.

A spokesperson for Psion said the move to sign up Siemens as an investor was a strategic decision to ensure it had all the major handset makers on board.

Rudi Lamprecht, a member of Siemen's managing board, said: "Having licensed Symbian OS for our Smartphone development last year, now we also want to take the chance to strongly influence the open standard for Smartphones."

Symbian's shareholders have consistently said the business will be floated on the stock market but only once conditions have improved and the company's technology is selling in large volumes.

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