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Telia sells off KCell stake to end Eurasian operations

Telia sells off KCell stake to end Eurasian operations

Telia and Turkcell have sold their combined 75% stake in Kazakhstan’s KCell to the country’s state-owned operator Kazakhtelecom.

In a deal worth $446 million, Telia is divesting the 24% stake it holds directly as well as the 51% stake it owns jointly with Turkcell via Fintur Holdings. The valuation suggests that KCell’s total enterprise value is around $771 million.

Telia CEO and president Johan Dennelind noted that the deal was especially significant to Telia as it marked the end of “the journey of exiting Eurasia”, a process that it began in 2015 after a 2013 investigation into its activities in Uzbekistan found it guilty of offering around $330 million in bribes to strengthen its foothold in the market.

Dennelind said: “It has been a complex process with many interests and considerations, but we are now pleased with the completion of this process.” The operator will now focus on its core markets in Scandinavia and the Baltics.

Ealier this year, Telia and Kazakhtelecom had discussed a potential deal for KCell but talks fell through in September as the companies disagreed on the unit’s value. However, the new agreement has received the approval of Kazakhstan’s anti-monopoly watchdog, and so is on track to complete by the end of the month.

Separately, Telia has bought out Turkcell from Finture Holdings. The Turkish operator held a 41.45% stake in the unit; now that Telia is the only shareholder, it can repatriate funds from the holding firm.

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