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Rumours hint at Nokia takeover by Samsung, Microsoft

Microsoft and Samsung continue to fend off rumours that they have any intention of purchasing cell phone manufacturer Nokia.

Samsung today denied its interest in the acquisition, according to Reuters, while news that Microsoft momentarily considered a buyout has surfaced.

"The rumour regarding the acquisition of Nokia is groundless," a Samsung spokeswoman said on 11 June in a statement.

Nokia has lost its footing in the aggressive smartphone world. In April, IHS iSuppli and Strategy Analytics confirmed in separate reports that Samsung had bested Nokia as the world's top phone manufacturer for the first time in 14 years.

The company's shares recently dropped to a 15-year low, falling 40 per cent in the last three months, The Register reported. Its shares rose six per cent last Friday, however, amidst rumours of a Samsung buyout, which analysts described to Reuters as an attack of "Friday madness."

"Samsung is flying at the moment and it is hard to see what it would gain from buying Nokia," Ovum analyst Nick Dillon told Reuters.

Nokia declined to comment on the market rumours; Microsoft did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Nokia last year pledged to focus its smartphone efforts on Microsoft's Windows Phone line, introducing the Windows Phone-based Lumia line in late 2011.

According to The Register, Microsoft was given access late last year to Nokia's books to evaluate the company for acquisition, but it was not impressed. "The story is that having had a gander, Microsoft walked away," The Register said.

"The only reason Microsoft would have paid a premium for Nokia last year was to keep it out of the hands of a rival," the story continued. "But it's hard to see which buyer would have valued Nokia as highly as Microsoft does, and would have paid a premium."

In April, a data connectivity problem with the AT&T Lumia 900 smartphone forced the company to offer a $100 (£64) credit to all users. A month later, Nokia was hit with a class-action lawsuit claiming fraud; the suit alleged that Nokia told investors that Windows Phone would "halt its deteriorating position in the smartphone market."

Last week, Nokia expanded its low-cost Asha phone line with three new "smartphone-like" handsets.