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TeliaSonera’s Fintur takes full ownership of Geocell

9 Feb 2009

Scandinavian telecoms group TeliaSonera has bought up the remaining 2.5% of Georgian cellco Geocell for USD7 million, to give its subsidiary Fintur Holdings 100% control of the company, according to InterpressNews. Geocell was originally part-owned by state-affiliated Egrisi, but the company was forced to relinquish its stake in 2000 when a high court ruled that its holdings in Geocell, broadcaster Iberia TV and two local telephony operators represented a conflict of interest. TeliaSonera and Turkey’s Turkcell (itself 37% owned by TeliaSonera) both have indirect interests in Geocell via Fintur Holdings (74% owned by TeliaSonera, 26% by Turkcell). In January 2008 Fintur acquired an additional 14.3% of Geocell for USD33 million, taking ownership to 97.5%. On 30 January 2009 TeliaSonera formed an agreement with the government allowing the Stockholm-based group to purchase from it the remaining 2.5% share. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Geocell is the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, with a total of 1.4 million at 30 September 2008, representing a wireless market share of 46.8%.

Georgia, Geocell, Telia Company, Turkcell

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