Symbian, the mobile OS alliance led by Psion, has expanded to include Japanese telecommunications equipment manufacturer Matsushita Communications.
Matsushita, the world's fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer, and best known for its Panasonic brand, will invest £22 million and take an 8.8 per cent stake in Symbian. The alliance's aim is to establish Psion's Epoc OS as the leading global system for wireless devices. Matsushita joins current shareholders Motorola, Nokia and Ericsson alongside Psion as they go head-to-head against Microsoft's Windows CE OS.
The move saw the Symbian alliance expand its presence further into the Asian market and establish itself as a global venture. Symbian opened an office in Tokyo and has been working with Japanese group NTT Mobile Communications. It is not expected that there will be further investors in the alliance. Matsushita's investment is a coup for Symbian as the former holds a 50 per cent market share in Japan's mobile phone market.
David Potter, chairman of Psion, said: 'During the 11 months since it was launched, Symbian has announced a number of strategic relationships in Europe, the US and Japan. Matsushita's addition strengthens Symbian's position within Japan and the Asia Pacific region.'
To accommodate Matsushita, the other shareholders diluted their stakes.
Psion now holds 28.1 per cent while Motorola, Ericsson and Nokia hold 21 per cent each. The £22 million investment sees Symbian valued at £250 million - more than twice its value when the alliance was formed last year.
The transaction will be completed by the end of June and will add a non-cash gain of £4.6 million to Psion's accounts.
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