It looks like Telenor’s attempts to sell its Myanmar unit may be facing fresh problems as the country’s military leadership is said to be looking for participation from local buyers in any planned deal.
The original plan was to sell its local operations to M1 Group, a Lebanese firm, for a reported asking price of $105 million. However, the junta, which took over in February, now appears to want some measure of local ownership.
In addition, as we have reported, telecom and internet firms have been pressurised to install surveillance technology, while senior executives have been prevented from leaving the country. As we reported in September Telenor has thus far resisted, saying it has “worked actively to avoid activation of intercept equipment” and “will not do so voluntarily”.
Following the February coup, in which Myanmar’s military seized power in the country, Telenor said in July: “The situation in Myanmar has over the past months become increasingly challenging for Telenor for people security, regulatory and compliance reasons”. It also announced plans to sell its local division.
According to Reuters, M1, an investment firm, is in advanced talks about a partnership with at least one Myanmar company, and other local firms have expressed interest.
Reuters adds that Telenor has said it is still waiting for a formal response from Myanmar authorities to its request to sell its unit to M1.