So much for access. ValueAct, the activist shareholder group that’s going to get a seat on Microsoft’s board, was not consulted on Microsoft’s $7.17 billion acquisition of most of Nokia’s devices and services business. Of course, technically, ValueAct does not get its seat for another month or so, but still.
In a conference call Tuesday, Nomura Securities Analyst Rick Sherlund asked Microsoft whether ValueAct got a head’s up on this rather large acquisition. To which Microsoft EVP and General Counsel Brad Smith replied:
“The answer is no … You would not expect the company to disclose material, non-public information to an entity that doesn’t have an appropriate non-disclosure agreement, so the answer is no.”
Timing here is curious. Late Friday, Microsoft announced that ValueAct would get a board seat — and that director could participate in the first board meeting after this November’s annual meeting. On Monday night, Microsoft announced the Nokia buyout. Now we know it was as big a surprise to ValueAct as it was to the rest of the world.