Wed, Jul. 20, 1:46 PM
- Takilant Ltd. -- the company with ties to the daughter of Uzbekistan's president -- has been ordered to pay $135M by a Dutch court that found it guilty of accepting bribes from VimpelCom (VIP -2%) and Telia (OTCPK:TLSNY -4.1%).
- That's the latest in a lengthy probe of telecoms that were charged with paying Takilant in exchange for spectrum and business opportunities in Uzbekistan. The company is linked to Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov.
- The probes in various countries led to VimpelCom agreeing to pay $795M in settlements.
- Takilant was found guilty of bribery and forgery but escaped charges of money-laundering as there was no evidence the telecoms' money came from criminal activity.
- Telia is still under investigation by Dutch prosecutors.
Tue, Feb. 9, 11:49 AM
- Turkcell (TKC -1.5%) is going forward with an effort to buy out partner TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +1.3%) in their Fintur Eurasian joint venture, its CEO says.
- The company has a non-binding bid in and will follow with a another offer after it completes due diligence, says CEO Kaan Terzioglu. TeliaSonera owns the other 58.55% of the venture, which owns operators in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Moldova.
- Meanwhile, despite tough timing on the sale, TeliaSonera says "Several parties are interested in our holdings in Fintur and one of them is Turkcell."
- As much as TeliaSonera is interested in getting out of the region, Turkcell has been pursuing more cross-border expansion after the end of a long boardroom deadlock broken by regulators.
- Previously: TeliaSonera facing tough economic timing on Eurasian sale (Jan. 29 2016)
- Previously: RenCap: Turkey may be best bet for emerging telecom growth, dividends (Jan. 04 2016)
Fri, Jan. 29, 10:24 AM
- Economic problems in Eurasia are complicating a plan for TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +1.6%) to sell out of networks there, chief Johan Dennelind says.
- "Macro is troublesome in many markets and you could argue the timing is wrong," Dennelind says. "But focusing efforts into the Nordic and Baltic markets is more important. We have to make sure we exit responsibly -- we are not running away and leave the keys on the table."
- The Swedish operator expressed an interest in selling out of the region -- and its Fintur co-owner Turkcell (TKC +2.9%) showed a strong interest in buying -- but the company says closing a sale may be tough.
- Other parties than Turkcell are interested in Fintur, though, which owns four operators in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Moldova.
- TeliaSonera already treats the Eurasian operations as "discontinued" in reports.
- Previously: Turkcell on the hunt for control of Eurasian operators (Sep. 18 2015)
Fri, Jan. 22, 10:48 AM
- Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY +3.7%) and TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +3%) are moving into the second phase of Norway's 1800 MHz spectrum auction later this month.
- The two came out as winners in the first phase, which lasted 83 rounds and drew 877.98M krone (about $103.3M). Now they'll have until next Thursday to submit bids for specific locations in the band. Telenor had secured 20 megahertz while TeliaSonera secured 5 megahertz.
- TeliaSonera (which operates in Norway under the NetCom brand) and Telenor launched LTE services in the country in 2012, and offer them through the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands.
- Previously: TeliaSonera, Ericsson working on 5G testbed for Sweden, Estonia by 2018 (Jan. 22 2016)
Fri, Jan. 22, 10:29 AM
- TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +2.7%) is working toward a launch of 5G networks in Sweden and Estonia by 2018, developing use cases along with Ericsson (ERIC +6%) for the next-gen network.
- The companies are working both on Internet of Things (Iot) applications as well as person-to-person communications.
- "Stockholm and Tallinn are two of the most connected cities in the world and now we'll take them to the next level," says TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind.
- The companies pointed to e-health and connected cars as key applications for the new technologies, along with better network performance.
Tue, Jan. 12, 3:16 AM
- Sweden's TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY) has named Anders Olsson to its leadership team, making him chief operating officer and head of Global Services & Operations.
- He was executive VP of Strategic Projects at Tele2 (OTCPK:TLTZY), which he joined in 1997. Tele2 won't be replacing him at that position.
- TeliaSonera has combined its Group Technology and Group Commercial units into Global Services & Operations, now under Olsson's purview.
- Previously: TeliaSonera facing greater scrutiny in wider corruption probe (Nov. 25 2015)
Nov. 25, 2015, 6:55 PM
- While VimpelCom (VIP +6.8%) got a boost today on news that it may be close to settling with the U.S. in an Uzbekistan corruption probe, TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +2.2%) may be facing a bigger headache as the U.S. looks to extend the probe into other markets, according to Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.
- Danske Bank analysts think the company could now be facing compensation claims of 15B kronor ($1.72B), triple what they had expected before.
- The probe is reportedly widening to TeliaSonera's activities in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and even Nepal.
- Other companies besides VimpelCom and TeliaSonera -- Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) and Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY) -- are linked to dealings with Takilant, the company tied to Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov.
Oct. 19, 2015, 11:26 AM
- With some new interest from suitors, Sweden's TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY -0.4%) has brought back a plan to sell its Spanish mobile unit Yoigo in a deal that could bring €500M (about $567M), Bloomberg reports.
- Spain's Másmovil Ibercom is showing interest, as well as private-equity firms, sources said.
- TeliaSonera took Yoigo off the market in 2012, disappointed with the bids received (said to have hit more than €700M at the time, with Vodafone ).
- Meanwhile, Másmovil has stepped up its presence, taking advantage of a required Orange divestment to buy Jazztel broadband assets in August.
- TeliaSonera owns about 77% of Yoigo.
- Previously: Orange to sell Jazztel broadband assets to Másmovil (Aug. 11 2015)
- Previously: Virgin Group may get into Spain wireless with Yoigo buy (Jun. 12 2015)
Oct. 15, 2015, 2:51 PM
- TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY) is off 5.3% in U.S. trading as Muddy Waters goes short, claiming that information withheld from investors will have an impact on the shares and the company's credit profile.
- The Swedish provider has been withdrawing from Eurasia even as U.S. prosecutors probe whether the company was tied to criminal corruption in Uzbekistan. Its CEO Lars Nyberg resigned in 2013 amid criticism of the company's Uzbekistan investment.
- "While TeliaSonera has provided some transparency into its misdeeds in Uzbekistan, it has not made public the likelihood that the company’s other Eurasian and Nepal operations suffer from similar problems, and on a massive scale," Muddy Waters writes.
- Payments in Uzbekistan exceeding $380M might be the "tip of the iceberg," they write. "We estimate – perhaps conservatively – that TeliaSonera could have made corrupt payments throughout its Eurasia and Nepal operations that exceed SEK 17B ($2.1B). In addition, TeliaSonera is potentially obligated to make additional payment to a problematic partner in Azerbaijan of up to SEK 7.6B ($934.5M)."
- Muddy Waters open letter to TeliaSonera
- Previously: U.S. telecom probe seeking to seize $1B in European assets (Aug. 13 2015)
Oct. 9, 2015, 10:28 AM
- Amid a refocus on Sweden and Europe, TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +1.2%) is shuffling its Danish team, naming that unit's CEO Soren Abildgaard as the company's chief commercial officer and putting him in charge of its merged commercial/tech unit.
- The combination of the commercial and technology groups came ahead of the departure of veteran technology SVP Malin Frenning.
- Morten Bentzen, who has been head of enterprise in Denmark, will replace Abildgaard as Telia Denmark's CEO.
- The Swedish company decided last month to get out of Eurasia to focus more on Western business.
- Earlier this week, Danske Bank downgraded TeliaSonera to Hold, from Buy.
Sep. 18, 2015, 8:08 PM
- Turkcell (TKC -1%) is in the market to buy out the rest of some Eurasian assets from Sweden's TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY -2.2%), which is refocusing on Europe.
- The Turkish carrier says it's working to take control of Fintur, which owns four mobile operators in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Moldova. Turkcell has a 41.45% interest in Fintur, and TeliaSonera the other 58.55%.
- Correspondingly, the four operators operate as units of TeliaSonera with its branding style.
- Turkcell has pointed to its Ukrainian spread -- it bought out its partner in Ukraine's Astelit in June -- as a model for more regional cross-border expansion.
- Previously: Turkcell up as JPMorgan get bullish on Turkish telecom (Sep. 17 2015)
- Previously: Turkcell names CEO for Ukraine unit (Sep. 16 2015)
Sep. 11, 2015, 11:41 AM
- Sweden's TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +0.1%) and Norway's Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY -1.7%) have abandoned a merger of operations in Denmark amid strict opposition from EU regulators -- the first such opposition after a couple of years of mobile consolidation.
- That consolidation happened under then-Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, who was succeeded by Margrethe Vestager last November.
- "What we were looking at were very serious concerns," said Vestager about the Danish market. "To me it was necessary to have a fourth mobile operator." She said there shouldn't be conclusions drawn about the UK and Italy, however, where similar deals could reduce the number of national operators to three each.
- TeliaSonera and Telenor faced a relatively easier tie-up in Denmark operationally, as the two already share a network, but also thus had fewer options for divestment to satisfy regulators.
- Shares in Danish market leader TDC fell 7.7% in Copenhagen, and are down 8.2% in OTC trading (OTCPK:TDCAF).
Aug. 13, 2015, 6:28 PM
- U.S. prosecutors are pursuing the seizure of $1B in assets tied to a criminal corruption probe of Uzbekistan, to which they've linked foreign telecoms VimpelCom (VIP -1.9%), Mobile TeleSystems (MBT -2.5%) and TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +1.4%).
- Authorities think the firms (based in the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden respectively) sent hundreds of millions of dollars to business controlled by Gulnara Karimova, daughter to Uzbek President Islam Karimov, to secure wireless spectrum there.
- The U.S. is asking European banks to assist in grabbing the funds, part of a recently more aggressive push against foreign corruption by the U.S. -- which has jurisdiction with regard to VimpelCom and MTS since they trade on U.S. exchanges.
- TeliaSonera delisted about 10 years ago, but could be involved if its deals used the U.S. financial system. Its CEO Lars Nyberg resigned in 2013 amid criticism of the company's Uzbekistan investment.
- Earlier this year in the same probe, the U.S. pursued seizing some $300M in accounts in Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Authorities think Gulnara Karimova is the beneficial owner of the $1B they're seeking.
Aug. 10, 2015, 3:44 PM
- TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +1.8%) is testing LTE-Advanced in Copenhagen -- an upgrade with a theoretical peak of 300 Mbps compared to a standard 150 Mbps -- with an eye to rolling it out throughout Denmark.
- It's using 20 MHz of 1800-MHz spectrum as well as a few 20-MHz blocks of 2.6-GHz spectrum to test carrier aggregation.
- The company has upgraded just one mast so far, but plans to expand in an effort to catch up to incumbent TDC, which launched LTE-A in early July.
Jun. 22, 2015, 12:13 PM
- With consolidation in the air, telecom players are trading significantly higher today Europe-wide.
- Telefonica (TEF +4.5%), Telecom Italia (TI +1.9%), Orange (ORAN +8.2%), Vodafone (VOD +1.8%), KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY +5.5%), Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY +5.4%), Belgacom (OTCPK:BGAOY +2.7%), TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +1.9%) and Pharol (OTCPK:PTGCY +8.5%) are all among firms getting a punch up today.
- The richness of the proposed deal by Numericable-SFR (Altice, OTC:ATCEY) for Bouygues Telecom (OTCPK:BOUYY) -- at €10B, it suggests one of the highest regional industry EBITDA multiples (14.4x) in years -- may be lifting firms in a consolidation-friendly atmosphere, even with the hurdles this deal has to overcome.
- French regulators have gone on the record against the deal, calling for investment: “Consolidation isn’t advisable for the sector,” says econ minister Emmanuel Macron. “Employment, investment and giving customers the best possible service should be the priority.”
- In addition, a reluctant Martin Bouygues would need to be convinced to change his mind and sell.
- Previously: Altice confirms Bouygues Telecom bid (Jun. 22 2015)
Jun. 19, 2015, 12:38 PM
- Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri (TKC +0.5%) has begun talks to buy the 45% it doesn't hold of Astelit, its Ukrainian unit.
- Turkcell would buy out partner System Capital Management, which holds the stake in Astelit through Euroasia Telecommunications Holding, the companies' Netherlands-based venture partner.
- Astelit won a right to offer 3G service in Ukraine in February and the company launched service earlier this month.
- The move is good strategy considering the 3G service, says RBC's Sam Dhillon. Astelit hasn't posted a profit yet, so the point to the buyout could be increasing execution.
- But it could signal more cross-border outreach, he said: "In our view, a clear opportunity would be to acquire the ~75% stake it doesn’t own in Fintur, which would give them controlling presence in Kazakhstan, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan." That Fintur stake is currently owned by TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY).
- Previously: Turkcell down 5.3%; launches Ukraine 3G (Jun. 08 2015)
- Previously: Turkcell unit wins 3G spectrum in Ukraine (Feb. 23 2015)
Industry: Telecom Services - Domestic
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