Nokia is currently in talks to unload its luxury phone brand, Vertu, to Permira, a private equity group that deals heavily in premium goods, the Financial Times is reporting.
Launched in 1998, Vertu was positioned to attract the wealthy by offering a limited, highly premium handset. Vertu's phones, which usually sold for more than $300,000, featured luxury materials such as crystal for the displays and sapphire for the keys. Ownership of the phone came with other perks such as a 24/7 concierge service that could be used to book flights, restaurant reservations, or even get tickets to sports matches.
Nokia, once the world's top cell phone maker, is in the process of scaling down its operations in an effort to save money and focus on its recent partnership with Microsoft to build Windows Phone 7 handsets like the Lumia 900.
Vertu will join a number of other luxury nameplates like Hugo Boss and Valentino when picked up by UK-based Permira.
[via The Financial Times]