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TELIA - Telia AB News Story

SEK36.79 0.2  0.4%

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Sector
Telecoms
Size
Large Cap
Market Cap £12.76bn
Enterprise Value £21.14bn
Revenue £7.54bn
Position in Universe 55th / 1832

Telia close to deal to buy Bonnier TV assets -sources

Thu 19th July, 2018 9:47pm
By Eric Auchard and Pamela Barbaglia
    LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - Scandinavia's largest telecom
operator, Telia  TELIA.ST , was close to sealing a deal on
Thursday to acquire the broadcasting and streaming media
business of Swedish publishing firm Bonnier AB, sources familiar
with negotiations said.
    Telia has pushed for a deal valued below the 10-12 billion
Swedish crown ($1.12-$1.35 billion) range that local media
reported in May, one source told Reuters.
    "It will be less than 10 billion crowns," the source said.
    Bonnier, owned by a prominent Swedish family of the same
name, operates publishing, e-commerce and film businesses in
more than a dozen countries. Broadcast and streaming made up 30
percent of its 25.7 billion crowns in net sales during 2017.
    The two parties were close to an agreement and an
announcement could come as soon as Friday - subject to
last-minute wrangling over price which could still derail a
deal, two sources told Reuters. 
    Swedish magazine Resume reported in May that talks had been
under way since last autumn.
    The telecoms company confirmed two months ago it was in
talks to buy Bonnier's TV business but has declined comment
since then. "These discussions continue and we will not make any
further comments at this stage," a spokeswoman for Telia said
late on Thursday.
    Bonnier did not immediately respond to requests for comment
on the status of the talks.
    Two bankers not directly involved in the deal said Lazard
was among the banks advising Telia. A spokeswoman for Lazard
declined to comment. 
    The banking sources said Telia was keen to get the deal done
this week.
    Bonnier Broadcasting includes Swedish TV4 and streaming
service C More and Finnish MTV. It had sales of 7.5 billion
Swedish crowns last year and an operating profit (EBITA) of 423
million.
    Telia, in the process of completing an exit from its
Eurasian businesses, had said previously it is interested in
acquisitions in its Nordic core markets and is looking to boost
its television and video content.
    On Tuesday, Telia said it was buying Danish company TDC's
operations in Norway for 21 billion crowns ($2.35 billion) in a
deal it said would boost its position as a "strong challenger"
in mobile, TV and broadband services.
    "Content is an important part of the company’s future
strategy," Telia said in its statement in May confirming the
talks with Bonnier.
    Telia's share price has fallen around 8 percent since then 
as investors have grown worried its move into media could dilute
the focus on its core telecoms business, threatening dividend
payouts in the longer term.  
    The agreed merger of AT&T  T.N  and Time Warner, giants of
the U.S. telecoms and media industries, is the biggest example
of a wave of deals to better compete with big internet players.
    In Scandinavia this year, Tele2  TEL2b.ST  has agreed to buy
cable-TV firm Com Hem  COMH.ST , while Modern Times Group
 MTGb.ST  said it would split in two, demerging its Nordic TV
business and listing it on the stock exchange, after a sale of
the unit to Danish telecoms company TDC fell through. 
   ($1 = 8.9056 Swedish crowns)

 (Reporting by Eric Auchard and Pamela Barbaglia; editing by
John Stonestreet)
 ((eric.auchard@thomsonreuters.com; +44 7775 028 015; Reuters
Messaging: eric.auchard.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))
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