(Reuters) – Nokia <NOKIA.HE> declined to comment on Thursday on a media report saying it was working with an investment bank to defend itself from a hostile takeover, news which sent its shares sharply higher.
“Nokia does not comment on market rumours,” said a spokesman for the company.
Earlier on Thursday shares in Nokia surged 12.5%, with traders pointing to a report by online newspaper TMT Finance that said the group was working to defend itself from a hostile takeover bid for parts or all of its business.
The TMT Finance report said Nokia had hired Citi, a regular investment banking partner of the Finnish firm, for the deal which could be worth $17.4 billion.
In February Bloomberg reported Nokia was exploring strategic options and was working with advisers to consider potential asset sales and mergers, but a source close to Nokia told Reuters at the time there was “no truth to the report”.
The company, which competes with Ericsson <ERICb.ST> and Huawei [HWT.UL] for 5G network equipment, said in February it expected intense competition to continue in 2020 as rivals sought to grab market share.
Nokia shares have been battered since October 2019 as investors worry it might miss out to Huawei and Ericsson in the move to new 5G networks. Earlier this year Nokia also said it would replace its long-time chief executive Rajeev Suri.
Nokia’s U.S.-listed shares <NOK.N> were up 7% by 1707 GMT.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Tallinn; Editing by David Evans and Jan Harvey)