Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Telenor seeks new Nordic head as DNA holding grows, Sørby departs

By Mary Lennighan, for Total Telecom
Friday 27 September 19

Telco group looks to reposition itself as a Nordic player with acquisition of DNA in Finalnd; extends tender offer for minority shareholders

Telenor is looking for an executive to head up its new Nordic business following its acquisition of a controlling stake in DNA and the progression of a tender offer that has taken its stake in the Finnish firm to close to 95%. The addition of Finland to Telenor's European business means the telco group is now looking to form a Nordic operational cluster…

Telenor is looking for an executive to head up its new Nordic business following its acquisition of a controlling stake in DNA and the progression of a tender offer that has taken its stake in the Finnish firm to close to 95%.

The addition of Finland to Telenor's European business means the telco group is now looking to form a Nordic operational cluster, rather than its current Scandinavian cluster.

However, the job of leading the Nordic ops will not go to the most obvious candidate, the current acting head of Scandinavia and long-time Telenor exec Morten Karlsen Sørby, who is leaving the company.

After 26 years at Telenor, including 15 serving as part of its executive management team, Sørby is stepping down to serve on corporate boards and work with VC and private equity investors, Telenor said.

Telenor added Finland – a Nordic country, but not part of Scandinavia – to its footprint in August when it closed the acquisition of a 54% stake in DNA from its two major shareholders at a cost of €1.5 billion.

The move triggered a mandatory tender offer for the outstanding shares in the company. On Friday, the day after the offer period expired, Telenor said it has received preliminary acceptances that give it a 94.36% holding in DNA. It has now extended the offer period to 10 October, after which date it will make a redemption claim to any remaining minority shareholders and will subsequently apply to delist DNA from the Nasdaq Helsinki.

"Telenor Group sees great potential for DNA to continue to grow and develop. This includes strengthening its customer offerings and position in the business segment, as well as leveraging on Telenor's global scale and strong position in the Nordic region," said Telenor Group CFO, Jørgen Arentz Rostrup, in a statement.

"This marks another step in executing on our strategic agenda, focusing on modernisation and value creation within core telecom in the Nordics and Asia," he said.

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