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[Jolla Blog] Rostelecom is new strategic investor

asked 2018-03-21 12:02:05 +0300

AkiBerlin gravatar image

updated 2018-03-22 18:51:37 +0300

See Jolla Blog

That should help Jolla to stay in business and therefore it is good news! Congratulations sailors!

EDIT: in view of the discussion below, please note saja's answer below!

For convenience, I like to qoute James Noori's statement in the Jolla Blog:

After the investment, Rostelecom is the largest individual shareholder in the investment company Sailfish Holding Ltd. (Hong Kong) but does not own majority in Jolla Ltd. (Finland). The development of Sailfish OS has always been an international project and the company has an international shareholder base. The Sailfish family includes significant shareholders e.g. from China, and developing the company’s regional licensing strategy requires international ownership. And also, for the sake of clarity: Open Mobile Platform is not a shareholder neither in Sailfish Holding or Jolla Ltd.

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https://www.rostelecom.ru/en/ir/news/d443013/ Excuse my ignorance by I am not quite sure what it means when it says: ” .. securing a controlling stake in Sailfish Mobile OS RUS.” Seems like there is a subsidiary for a Russian version of the OS? Or does it mean that they have a controlling stake in the “entire” OS/Jolla?

cquence ( 2018-03-21 13:46:25 +0300 )edit

@cquence: They bought majority of OMP who makes the localized version of SFOS for Russian markets. Also there were talks about them buying majority in one of the Russian shareholders of Jolla so throught both of them they have control over some percentage of Jolla shares.

avhakola ( 2018-03-21 14:20:26 +0300 )edit

Sailfish Mobile OS RUS is not Jolla, see the other TJC post

AkiBerlin ( 2018-03-21 14:30:55 +0300 )edit

It would, however, be interesting who is indeed controlling Jolla. Or put differently: how much control do the Investors have.

AkiBerlin ( 2018-03-21 14:32:40 +0300 )edit

Reading the Russian language version of the Rostelecom PR it implies they have a controlling stake in both SailfishOS RUS and SailfishOS, aka Jolla,


richie ( 2018-03-21 14:46:25 +0300 )edit

3 Answers

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answered 2018-03-21 14:55:28 +0300

olf gravatar image

updated 2020-02-08 02:25:51 +0300

While the blog entry is new, the "news" is old: It just means that the announcment "Rostelecom acquiring Votron, the majority owner in Jolla" from January 2018 was successfully executed (i.e. the contracts are signed and have become effective by 2018-03-01)!

Still many thanks to @AkiBerlin for the pointer to Jollas blog, as it is very interesting to read how the carefully worded blog entry avoids stating "Rostelecom has become the majority stakeholder of Jolla Oy", but via Votron exactly that seems to be the case now. Edit: But it does not hold the majority of shares, while being the biggest shareholder, as explained by James Noori in the comments of aforementioned Jolla Blog entry.
A part of that "wording game" (which is about generating fog, IMHO) seems to tell that Rostelecom has invested into "SailfishOS" (the software proper, i.e. a product), not a company / holding, but in fact the latter is the case.

While that allows Jolla to stay afloat and sailing, strategically this move bears some dangers.

P.S.: This older article (2016-05-11) provides quite some background information.

P.P.S. rsp. update (2019-08-28):
This Kommersant article (Google translation) from July 2018 provides a in-depth analysis of the company links ("Who owns how much of whom?") plus an outlook at the future, while this one (Google translation) carries only little extra information.
Mind that the descriptions of some technical details are slightly distorted, e.g. "patents" (supposedly means "full license, including the ability to distribute adapted versions of proprietary software components").

Another update (2020-01-01):
This interview (Google translation) is quite interesting, although it does not contain anything really new and has to be interpreted with a grain of salt plus from a Russian perspective.

Yet another update (2020-02-08):
Found an excellent, maintained information page on Sailfish OS from a Russian perspective, linking to information pages about Jolla (including a well written, brief history), Rostelcom (interesting!), Votron and OMP.
Tadviser.com also reveals the size and importance of this licensing business in 2019 / 2020: [1] / [2] / [3], plus [4] and [5].


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Thank you, olf, for hinting to the other post on TJC. From the link provided therein, it indeed appears that Votron - and thus Rostelecom - owns the majority of Jolla Oy and I see that this could cause some concern. So now I am a Little bit less happy about Rostelecom's Investment.

AkiBerlin ( 2018-03-21 17:31:23 +0300 )edit

I believe the statement "Rostelecom has become the majority stakeholder of Jolla Oy" is lost in translation. Just some financial terms while having the same Latin word roots have different meanings and different definitions in different languages. Even I guess some financial terms could be different in USA and UK. So this "major investor", is just transliterated from Russian language (Мажоритарный инвестор) and it doesn't mean majority (control stake) shareholder/owner. (look: https://together.jolla.com/question/178875/rostelecom-acquiring-votron-the-majority-owner-in-jolla/?answer=178939#post-id-178939 and https://together.jolla.com/question/178875/rostelecom-acquiring-votron-the-majority-owner-in-jolla/?answer=178977#post-id-178977)

Ta_das ( 2018-03-22 06:00:17 +0300 )edit

answered 2018-03-22 17:55:35 +0300

saja gravatar image

James Noori just added a comment in the original blog which clearifies the situation. Finnish Jolla stays finnish Jolla. So to me the new inverstor is great news!

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Yeah, indeed it is!

AkiBerlin ( 2018-03-22 18:52:58 +0300 )edit

Well, I read a single, really clear statement in James Noori's comment: "Rostelecom does not hold a majority share in Jolla Oy (Finland), while being the biggest shareholder now."

BTW, this article from 2016-05-11 nicely depicts the players.
So what I gather from the various sources about the current developments:

  • Rostelecom did "purchase of 75% interest in Open Mobile Platform LLC and 75% interest in Votron LLC", effective of 2018-03-01 (as announced in January 2018).
  • Thus Rostelecom now "owns" OMP and Votron. This either addresses holding a majority share with voting rights (by aforementioned 75% purchase of each) or (if they already held the other 25% before, respectively Votron held a 25% share in OMP before the current transaction) 100%.
  • Votron founded OMP 2016-04-07, thus it was initially a subsidiary (Source).
  • "Sailfish Mobile OS RUS" is either a company, which was a subsidiary of OMP, or a product (as the English version of Rostelecom's Regulatory Notice seems to be badly translated), i.e. the adaption of SailfishOS for Russian customers (likely the version for companies and governmental institutions, as the Russian Post). Anyway, Rostelecom now "owns" it.
  • Votron held 9.72% of Sailfish Holding (Hong Kong), so Rostelecom now holds 9.72 + X % of Sailfish Holding (Hong Kong).
  • Sailfish Holding (Hong Kong) is the "mother company" of Jolla Oy (Finland) (Source), unfortunately a term which leaves the exact relationship open.
  • But OTOH, James Noori states, "After the investment, Rostelecom is the largest individual shareholder in the investment company Sailfish Holding Ltd. (Hong Kong) but does not own majority in Jolla Ltd. (Finland).", which probably means Rostelecom nows owns between 9 and 50% of both.
olf ( 2018-03-22 23:44:25 +0300 )edit

answered 2018-03-21 17:35:44 +0300

zash1958 gravatar image

@aki: What fears and sorrows have you about that?

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Maybe a Finnish company becoming a political istitution/a tool for politics like Google and Apple already are? It seems that Jolla devices cannot be obtained that easily in the US, but Russia, VRC and India aren't a problem. Russia was looking for a device for government firms/post, and it looks like they decided for Jolla. One of their search terms was "non-US company", and Jolla fulfilled that. Buying more and more shares of a firm you use the product of gives you more power and ownership of their products.

Lutwolf ( 2018-03-21 18:19:44 +0300 )edit

This would be OK I think. Old rule: If You buy the car you would also drive it. For me it is important, that Jolla CAN continue and make further developments in SFOS and also apps

zash1958 ( 2018-03-21 18:22:13 +0300 )edit

@zash1958: It is just that Rostelecom may not be a mere investor seeking (only) ROI. Plus, in general, a plurality of Investors would make Jolla more Independent and Independence is one of Jolla's USPs. I do not like the control that Apple or Google have over my data when using an iPhone or an Android device, respectively. And I don't know what happens to Jolla if Jolla is controlled by one major stakeholder that apparently has more than just financial interests. It is not that this necessarily is bad but it could become a problem because there is nobody in co-control of Jolla who would sincerely care for an independent user device.

AkiBerlin ( 2018-03-21 20:24:33 +0300 )edit

I understand! but merely I am very happy if Jolla has an STRON owner/partner... whatever. And I have no fear that a strong owner/partner would be bad for US users. The alternative is an mostly small and problematic Jolla without many.

zash1958 ( 2018-03-21 20:30:10 +0300 )edit

The usual concern with a major(ity) shareholder is, what happens if they suddenly decide they don't want to support the company anymore. Usually this is for economic reasons, i.e. it is not making them enough money. Here there are possible political reasons too, e.g. change of policy after a different faction gains power. In these cases, will the company be able to keep going anyway?

Kao ( 2018-03-21 20:39:21 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2018-03-21 12:02:05 +0300

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Last updated: Feb 08 '20