Microsoft Corp. announced that it is buying Nokia’s Devices and Services business, licensing Nokia’s patents and licensing and using Nokia’s mapping services.

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will pay about  $7.2 billion to purchase substantially all of Nokia’s Devices and Services business and license Nokia’s patents. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to approval by Nokia’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

Microsoft says it aims to accelerate the growth of its share and profit in mobile devices through faster innovation, increased synergies and unified branding and marketing with Nokia, building on its partnership with Nokia announced in February 2011.

“It’s a bold step into the future — a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies,” Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, said in a statement. “Bringing these great teams together will accelerate Microsoft’s share and profits in phones, and strengthen the overall opportunities for both Microsoft and our partners across our entire family of devices and services.”

In addition to its innovation and strength in phones at all price points, Nokia brings proven capability and talent in critical areas such as hardware design and engineering, supply chain and manufacturing management, and hardware sales, marketing and distribution, Ballmer said.

Included in the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire the Mobile Phones and Smart Devices business units as well as a design team, operations including all Nokia Devices and Services-related production facilities, Devices and Services-related sales and marketing activities, and related support functions.

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