Axiata and Telenor have dropped the proposed merger of their Asian businesses while noting that talks may resume in the future.
Current complications over the tie-up have resulted in the firms agreeing not to proceed with a deal at present. Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke noted that Asia was a “core region” and that the deal offered a “strategic rationale of scale, synergies and…assets”.
“We knew it would be a complex deal…we’ve mutually decided to end discussions”, he tweeted. Axiata’s chairman Abdul Khalid added that while the companies had spent four months conducting due diligence and finalising the transaction details, a merger covering 14 major units and nine countries had ultimately proven too challenging to pursue at the current time.
The operators first began discussing a non-cash merger of their Asian operations and infrastructure in May this year. Telenor was set to become the majority shareholder of the merged unit, but Malaysian regulations around competition and foreign ownership made it unclear whether the deal would in fact be approved.
Within Asia, Telenor is active in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand. Axiata meanwhile is headquartered in Malaysia and has operations in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, as well as its tower unit edotco.