Telia deal to divest Tcell parent stake expires

Tajikistan’s Anti-Monopoly Service has failed to provide approval for Telia’s arranged sale of a 60% holding in the parent firm of Tajik operator Tcell by the required deadline.

Telia had agreed to sell its entire stake in Central Asian Telecommunications Development to minority shareholder Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), as part of its broader strategy of pulling out of the Eurasia region entirely.

The deal has now lapsed following the monopoly authority’s failure to “reply by the stipulated deadline”, according to a Telia statement. Telia SVP and head of the Eurasia region Emil Nilsson stated: “We have taken all relevant actions in trying to close the deal. The proposed buyer of our interest in Tcell, AKFED, is an established investor in the region with multiple companies in its current portfolio and a long history in Tcell. We are now assessing alternative ownership solutions for Tcell.”

Telia announced that it intended to divest its holding in September 2016, and the deal was expected to close by the end of last year. When this deadline passed, Telia stated in January 2017 that an unresolved tax issue had postponed the deal.

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