Report: Telenor and TeliaSonera offer to sell 40% of Danish network unit

Telenor and TeliaSonera have reportedly offered to sell up to 40 per cent of their Danish network infrastructure unit to a new entrant, as part of ongoing efforts to secure European Commission (EC) approval of their planned Danish merger.

Citing an EC document, Reuters said the new entrant would take an initial 15 per cent in TT-Netværket -- the operators' Danish network joint venture that was established in 2012 -- with the option to increase this stake to 40 per cent over time. Telenor Denmark is also reported to have offered to sell its BiBob pre-paid online business to the new entrant.

This latest offer would effectively see the Danish joint venture become an infrastructure provider to a new entrant. However, the new player would not own any spectrum. Reuters said the EC document noted that owning spectrum was a crucial element to becoming an effective competitor.

The offer may attract interest from Tele2 Sweden and cable operator Strofa, Reuters added, citing unnamed sources. The new entrant would also be able to sell network capacity on a wholesale basis to other companies.

Telenor and TeliaSonera both declined to comment on the reports, each noting that they were unable to do so because they are involved in an ongoing process and dialogue with the Commission.

This is the second time that the two operators are reported to have offered concessions to the EC. Reuters noted in August that earlier proposals already included plans to sell two blocks of 2100 MHz spectrum and rent 15 per cent of the new venture's network capacity to a new player.

Telenor and TeliaSonera have been struggling to convince European Union regulators to approve their proposal to combine Denmark's number two and three operators into a 50:50 joint venture. The EC is concerned by the fact that the merger would create Denmark's largest operator in terms of revenue and subscriber numbers, ahead of rivals TDC and Hi3G (Three Denmark).

Sweden-based TeliaSonera and Norway-headquartered Telenor have remained bullish despite the issues raised by the EC, which in June released a statement of objections to the planned combination. They have continued to say they expect the deal will be approved in the second half of 2015, and have already appointed a management team for the joint venture.

A final decision is expected by Oct. 7 after the European Commission (EC) extended the original deadline of Sept. 16 by 10 working days.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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