Nokia shareholders have overwhelmingly voted to approve the €5.44 billion ($7.36 billion) sale of the company's handset division to Microsoft.
At a shareholder meeting convened to vote on the proposed transaction, more than 99% of votes were cast in favor of the sale of Nokia's devices and services business.
In a statement, Nokia interim CEO Risto Siilasmaa called the vote a “significant step forward” for the company.
“Today's vote brings us closer to completing a transaction which will mark the beginning of the next chapter in Nokia's near 150-year history, offering the potential of greater value for shareholders,” he said.
Subject to regulatory approvals, the deal is now expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.
In related news, Nokia has reportedly evaluated but rejected pursuing an acquisition of parts of Alcatel-Lucent's business, which are likely to be sold off as Alcatel-Lucent progresses with its Shift Plan.
Nokia's board had considered making a play for Alcatel-Lucent's wireless and IP routing divisions or approaching Alcatel-Lucent with an offer for a tie-up with NSN, but has decided against it at this time, the Wall Street Journalreported citing sources.
But one source added that Nokia intends to periodically re-evaluate a potential deal with Alcatel-Lucent as it progresses with the division sale and its transformation.