TeliaSonera open to acquisitions, with 3 Denmark a potential target

Sweden's TeliaSonera has indicated an interest in making acquisitions following speculation that the company was measuring up 3 Denmark for a possible bid.

Nyberg

With competition in the Danish market becoming ever more fierce, the owners of 3 Denmark--Hong-Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa--are thought to be open to offers for the country's fourth largest operator, according to a report in Dagens Industri, a Swedish newspaper.

However, Hutchison Whampoa is thought to have invested $1.2 billion (€911 million) in building 3 Denmark and would look to recoup that in any kind of sale. But local analysts have suggested this is unlikely given the state of the Danish mobile market.

"That is way too expensive," Sven Skold, an analyst at Swedbank, told Reuters.

TeliaSonera CEO Lars Nyberg indicated he could be interested in 3 Denmark: "I always buy if it is the right price," he said at a conference, according to Reuters. But TeliaSonera is finding the Danish market difficult and said at the end of the fourth quarter it would cut around 20 per cent of its workforce in the country. The company reported core profit was down 37 per cent in 2011 to 744 million Swedish crowns (€83 million).

"We are not going to leave Denmark," Nyberg said. "But we have concerns in Denmark. It is a very difficult market, that much is certain. No one is making real money in Denmark."

Reflecting on the state of the Danish market and the role of the regulator, Nyberg said: "The regulators were given the task many years ago to make sure there was sufficient competition and they have interpreted that as meaning that the more operators there are, the better. I am not sure that is the whole answer."

 "If you look at all the third-biggest and fourth-biggest operators, they are not making any money," he said.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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