Telenor considers €2 billion asset sale to US fund

Natalie Bannerman
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Telenor contemplates selling its assets in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary for a reported €2 billion

Telenor is reportedly considering selling its Bulgarian operations, as well as its assets in Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary, to a US fund.

As reported by Broadbandtvnews, a report by Mergermarket that references three unnamed sources Capital reports that the deal could be worth up to €2 billion.

It goes on to say that an exclusive prospective buyer was confirmed back in December, by the identity of such as yet to be revealed. Private equity investor KKR is rumoured to be said buyer because it already owns a satellite TV operation in the region, but Capital says that the claim has been denied by a Norwegian source.

According to Capital if true, the deal could be a major turning point for Telenor, which expanded its presence in the region in 2013 with the acquisition of Globul, Bulgaria’s second-largest GSM/UMTS operator, in a deal worth €717 million.

Despite increasing its market share in the region and added 4G services, unlike its competitors BTC (now Vivacom) and Mobiltel, Telenor still does not have any fixed line products/services in its offering.

In related news, Børsen reports that Telia is under increased pressure to acquire TDC after Swedish telecos Tele2 and Com Hem merged earlier this week for $3.3 billion.Børsen writes that Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri, refers to anonymous sources as origin of these claims.

According to Dagens Industri, the purchase is predicted to be financed by increasing the debt and not necessarily selling new shares. Sources then say that an increase in debt is the most likely way because the Swedish state, which owns almost 40% of the shares, are likely to buy shares in an issue.

"The solution seems more likely after Wednesday's event," said the anonymous source for Dagens Industri.

Telia confirmed its interest in purchasing TDC last year but the deal have yet to be finalised.