Saturday, 21 October 2017

Telenor sells out of Veon

By Mary Lennighan, Total Telecom
Thursday 21 September 17

Norwegian operator offers 90 million shares at $4.15 each; will transfer remaining stake to exchangeable bond

Telenor's latest Veon share sale sale is underway and will be the telco's last, since it plans to transfer its remaining stake in the telco to an exchangeable bond. The Norwegian operator said it has begun an offering of 90 million Veon shares…

Telenor's latest Veon share sale sale is underway and will be the telco's last, since it plans to transfer its remaining stake in the telco to an exchangeable bond.

The Norwegian operator said it has begun an offering of 90 million Veon shares, comprising common shares and American Depositary Shares (ADSs), which represents 5.1% of Veon.

On Thursday both Telenor and Veon revealed that the shares are priced at US$4.15, or approximately €3.49 each. The offering is expected to close on 25 September.

In total Telenor holds a 19.7% stake in Veon, including ADSs backing its $1 billion, three-year exchangeable bond due in 2019. The telco expects to use its remaining 14.6% stake to redeem and/or exchange the bond.

Telenor announced its intention to exit Veon, then known as VimpelCom, in late 2015 in the wake of the Russian operator's investigation for corruption in Uzbekistan. At the time it held a 33% stake.

There was speculation that Telenor would sell the stake to a strategic investor; the company was reported to be in talks with potential buyers in April last year.

However, five months later Telenor launched a public offering in the U.S. to cut its stake to 24.9% and in April this year reduced its holding to the current level via the sale of 70 million shares.

On Thursday Telenor said it will gain net proceeds of $365 million from the sale, which will be included in its cash flow statement for the third quarter.

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