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Telenor selling CEE assets; Spotify lowers estimate for IPO

In this monthly Best of Nordics feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent market developments in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.

TOP NEWS

* Telenor ASA on March 21 announced that it has agreed to sell its assets in Central and Eastern Europe to PPF Group for an enterprise value of €2.8 billion. The deal, which is anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2018, will cover Telenor's mobile operations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as service provider Telenor Common Operation.

* Shares of Spotify Technology SA lowered its estimate of the maximum aggregate value of shares to be sold in its upcoming IPO to $444.6 million from $1 billion, according to a March 20 amended SEC filing. The parent company of Spotify AB will start trading on the NYSE under the symbol SPOT from April 3, TechCrunch reported March 15, citing a company announcement. Spotify earlier filed for an IPO of up to $1 billion of its ordinary shares.

M&A

* Nokia Corp. said March 16 it completed the acquisition of Seattle-based software company Unium Inc., which specializes in residential Wi-Fi applications and will operate under Nokia's fixed networks group. The addition of Unium's software and intelligent mesh wireless technology will bolster the Finnish company's whole-home Wi-Fi portfolio.

* The Finnish government on March 13 said it acquired a 3.3% stake in Nokia for about €844 million as it seeks to strengthen a company seen as crucial for the nation. Solidium Oy, Finland's state-owned investment company, said Nokia now accounts for about 11% of its €8.4 billion of total equity investments.

* Fintur Holdings BV sold its 51.3% stake in Azertel Telekomünikasyon Yatirim ve Dis Ticaret AS to Azerbaijan International Telecom LLC, which is owned by the Republic of Azerbaijan, for about €221.7 million, according to a March 5 news release. Fintur is jointly owned by Telia Co. AB and Turkcell.

INTERNET, OTT AND MOBILE

* Spotify Technology on March 13 announced that it has launched its services in Israel, Romania, South Africa and Vietnam. The music-streaming service is now available in 65 countries.

* Swisscom AG said Feb. 22 that it has tapped Ericsson AB for its plans to commercially roll out a 5G mobile network in select areas toward the end of 2018. Ericsson will deploy 5G hardware and software on the Swiss operator's network.

OTHER NEWS

* Ericsson restated its consolidated income statements for each quarter of 2017 and full year 2016 due to the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards 15. The new standard was applied as of Jan. 1, 2018, and affects the time at which revenue and costs are recognized but does not affect cash flow. The restatement had a positive effect on net sales and income for 2017 and a negative impact on net sales and income for 2016.

* Spotify co-founder Martin Lorentzon is leaving Telia's board, Göteborgs Posten reported March 6. Lorentzon will be replaced by Martin Tivéus, COO of the Nordics division at digital payments company Klarna AB.

* Nokia on March 6 said it appointed Sanjay Goel as president of global services and member of the group leadership team, effective April 1. Goel was most recently head of global services sales.

* Saudi Telecom Co. teamed up with Ericsson on the development of the next-generation 5G technology network in Saudi Arabia. A memorandum of understanding signed by the parties include 5G commercial trials in Saudi Arabia, which will include Radio Access Network, core and transport, as well as various 5G use cases, the company said March 5.

* Fitch Ratings on Feb. 15 put its long-term issuer default rating and senior unsecured ratings of BBB- on TDC A/S on Rating Watch Negative. The move comes after a consortium led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets announced plans to launch a voluntary public takeover of the entire share capital of TDC.

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