Telenor to swap Latam assets with Schibsted for Asian joint ventures

Norwegian telecom firm Telenor ASA on Thursday announced the signing of a swap deal with Schibsted ASA under which it will exit its Latin American joint venture SnT and acquire Schibsted's stake in the joint ventures in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

The company expects net proceeds from the transaction with Schibsted to be $406 million (approx. NOK 3.4 billion).

In addition, Telenor has entered into an agreement with Singapore Press Holdings to acquire their share in the online classifieds sites in Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar for $110 million (approx. NOK 0.9 billion).

Following these transactions, Telenor will own 100 per cent of the leading online classifieds services Mudah (Malaysia), Chotot (Vietnam), OneKyat (Myanmar) and ImSold (Malaysia and Vietnam). Telenor, Schibsted, Naspers and Singapore Press Holdings will remain partners in the online classifieds assets in Thailand and Indonesia.

Telenor entered into agreements with Schibsted and Singapore Press Holdings in 2013 to create joint ventures within online classifieds in Latin America and Asia. In 2015, the partners joined forces with Naspers to combine platforms in several markets, including Brazil.

Following this, Telenor's ownership in the online classifieds joint ventures has been 25 per cent in Brazil, 50 per cent in Chile, 33.3 per cent in Malaysia and Vietnam, 18.6 per cent in Thailand, and 11.3 per cent in Indonesia.

"Today's transactions show that we have been able to create solid value from our online classifieds investments. We have had a good co-operation with our partners since we teamed up in 2013. However, as part of our efforts to simplify Telenor Group's business portfolio and to focus on business development in geographical areas of key importance, we now wish to concentrate our online classifieds initiatives to these fully owned assets in the Asian region," Jørgen C Arentz Rostrup, chief financial officer of Telenor Group, stated in a release.

Telenor expects the transactions to close by end of June 2017, with a gain of NOK 3.5 billion for the second quarter 2017, related to the disposals and an impairment of NOK 300 million (1 NOK  = Rs 7.48) relating to the Asian assets.

The transactions will give a net positive cash contribution of around NOK 2.5 billion in the second quarter of 2017, telenor said.