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Renesas Mobile saved from shutdown as US giant snaps it up

Northern Finland’s largest city, still digesting the impact of the Microsoft-Nokia deal a day earlier, received good news on Wednesday. Another high-tech firm that was set to close up shop has apparently been rescued by an American buyout.

Renesasin työntekijöitä poistumassa tiedotustilaisuudesta
Image: Jarno Tahvanainen / Yle

The large American IT firm Broadcom is buying the Finnish operations of the Japanese firm Renesas Electronics, which were to be shut down. The deal, worth 164 million dollars, will give Broadcom access to modems created by Renesas Mobile – which the Japanese company originally bought from Nokia. The subsidiary is seen as having technology and know-how that are key to the high-speed 4G LTE generation of mobile communication.

In June, Renesas Mobile Europe said it would dismiss all its employees in Oulu, Salo, Helsinki and Tampere, then totalling more than 800.

The effect of the deal on staffing at Renesas Mobile remains unclear. Renesas now has 760 employees in Finland, about 530 of them in Oulu.

Positive attitude enabled deal

Local Renesas workers were told the news during a meeting at Oulu University on Wednesday afternoon.

At the meeting, Renesas Mobile Europe CEO Heikki Tenhunen – a former Nokia vice-president – announced that the California-based Broadcom is buying all of Renesas Mobile Europe’s shares and technology.

Tenhunen said that work would continue in Oulu and at its other locations in Finland and Europe. Altogether Renesas Mobile Europe has 1200 employees, more than half of them in Finland.

Tenhunen thanked the staff for their positive attitude during this turbulent summer. He said that made the deal possible.

“Our main product development project in the past few years has been a smartphone platform, which we have been finalising for the past half-year. Despite great uncertainty, the staff pushed ahead to complete this platform. That made it possible to seal this deal,” he said.

Not all employees can be guaranteed work in the future, but there will be plenty of work until at least the end of this year, he added.

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