STOCKHOLM, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Swedish telecom operator Tele2’s plan to sell parts of its Norwegian network to competitor Ice will make it easier to win approval for TeliaSonera’s deal to buy Tele2 Norway, a fund manager said on Wednesday.
The planned network sale, which will only take place if Norwegian authorities back Tele2 Norway’s merger plan, could help Ice, a unit of Access Industries, become a viable supplier of mobile communication services.
“It’s a way to get the deal approved,” said Inge Heydorn, fund manager at Sentat Asset Management.
TeliaSonera in July said it had agreed to buy Tele2 Norway for 5.1 billion Swedish crowns ($707.85 million), following Tele2’s loss in December of key Norwegian mobile frequencies.
The surprise winner of Norway’s 2013 mobile frequency auction was Ice, which now has the spectrum but lacks a full-scale technical network that will allow it to offer mobile phone services.
Meanwhile, Tele2 will lease some of these frequencies from Ice from October until early April next year, by which time the deal to sell Tele2 Norway could potentially be approved.
If the deal gets the necessary permissions, Norway will be left with two established mobile network operators - TeliaSonera and market leader Telenor - plus new entrant Ice.
Access Industries, the Ice owner, is a holding company founded by Ukrainian-American billionaire Leonard Blavatnik.
1 US dollar = 7.2049 Swedish crown Reporting by Olof Swahnberg, editing by Terje Solsvik