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Telenor sells CEE operations to O2 and Nova Group owner PPF

Telenor has agreed to sell its central and eastern European assets to private equity outfit PPF Group for €2.8 billion in a move that will see the Norwegian telco exit its wholly-owned mobile operations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia.

Telenor’s Fornebu HQ

PPF owns multi-play provider 02 Czech Republic, which it acquired from Telefónica in 2013, but does not play a role in the management of the operator. More recently, it acquired Bulgarian broadcast outfit Nova Broadcasting, with its seven TV channels and 19 online businesses, from Modern Times Group.

The latest deal gives PPF the rights to use the Telenor brand through the first half of 2021.

“With this purchase, PPF Group is expanding its telecommunications portfolio to four more countries, and fulfilling our long-held goal to become a mid-sized European operator and to use our experience to strengthen our market position,” said Ladislav Bartoníček, PPF Group’s shareholder responsible for telecommunications assets.

For Telenor, the sale is part of a move to focus on the Nordic and Asian markets, developing existing assets and driving digital transformation.

“Telenor Group’s strategy is based on growth, efficiency and simplification. With the sale of our CEE assets, we take an important step in simplifying and focusing Telenor’s portfolio on the regions where we see the strongest potential for value creation. Following this transaction, Telenor’s footprint will consist of integrated fixed and mobile operations in Scandinavia, and strong mobile positions in Asia. Telenor is confident that PPF Group’s experience in both the region and sector will make it a good owner of the CEE assets,” said Sigve Brekke, CEO of Telenor Group.