Norwegian incumbent Telenor ASA has finally bought out BellSouth’s 46.5% stake in Danish wireless operator Sonofon for $600m, ending a long period of stalemate between the two shareholders.
The deal ends an unhappy period when the two companies were at loggerheads over Sonofon’s strategy. They were so deeply at odds, that in 2001, they could not agree on whether Sonofon should bid for a 3G license, leaving Telenor to apply for one on its own.
Despite a feuding board room, Sonofon has built a strong second place with 24% of the competitive Danish market, compared with 35% for market leader TDC, and has been particularly successful in attracting high-spending users.
The reward BellSouth has got for its uncooperative stance is a hefty price for its holding. With the Scandinavian markets increasingly viewed as one, Telenor justifies the price with a claim that the synergies between its mobile operations in Scandinavia will be in excess of NOK 1bn ($151.1m).
Telenor, which is owned 62.7% by the Norwegian government, paid $1.7bn for its 53.5% stake in Sonofon in 2000.
This article is based on material originally produced by ComputerWire