Telia said to weigh stake sale in Russian carrier MegaFon

An advertising board with logo of Russian mobile phone operator MegaFon is installed on the roof. Reuters.

Telia AB is considering a plan to reduce its stake in Russian telecommunications service provider MegaFon PJSC as the Swedish carrier focuses on its home region, according to people familiar with the matter.

Telia is considering selling about $500 million of MegaFon as early as this week in an accelerated sale to institutional investors, depending on demand and market conditions, the people said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public. No final decisions have been made and Telia could decide to retain the stake for longer, they said. A $500 million stake would be equivalent to about 7.8 percent of MegaFon shares at current market prices.

A spokesman for Telia declined to comment. The carrier currently owns about 25 percent in MegaFon, according to its website.

Telia said in January it was likely to sell its Central Asian telecommunications assets this year and Chief Executive Officer Johan Dennelind laid out the company’s ambition to be a leading player in the Nordics and Baltics. The firm sold about $500 million worth of stock in Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS in May.

MegaFon fell as much as 5 percent in London trading, the steepest intraday decline in more than three months, and was down 4.5 percent to $10 at 8:47 a.m. Telia’s shares rose 0.2 percent to 39.34 kronor in Stockholm, giving the carrier a market value of 170 billion kronor ($19.6 billion).

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Bloomberg