Telenor mulls alternative Myanmar buyers – report

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Speculation over a likely rejection of Telenor Group’s attempted sale of its troubled operation in Myanmar to M1 Group intensified, with The Financial Times reporting the seller was assessing alternative buyers.

Citing sources close to authorities within Myanmar, the newspaper claimed although the sale had not been formally rejected, those controlling the communications ministry had already decided to turn down the deal.

The regulator is set to push for the unit to be sold to a company based within the country, it added, with Telenor assessing its options.

The operator group agreed to sell the unit to Lebanon-based investment company M1 Group in July, having already taken a massive write-down on the business amid a period of political unrest in the country.

On announcing Telenor’s attempted exit CEO Sigve Brekke cited increasing difficulty in conducting business in the country, concluding a sale was “the best possible solution”.

However, since then reports have emerged with increasing frequency throwing the sale into doubt due to Myanmar authorities’ alleged concerns about the proposed buyer and preference for a local takeover.