Sweden’s TeliaSonera will reportedly begin the sale of its Spanish mobile subsidiary Xfera Moviles, which trades under the Yoigo banner, within the next two weeks, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the matter. According to the news agency, information documents are expected to be sent to potential bidders soon, having been held up over the summer as a result of holidays and the departure of Yoigo’s CEO. Likely bidders for the cellco are said to include UK-based Vodafone Group and France Telecom-Orange, both of which already have mobile voice operations in the country; the acquisition of Yoigo by either would reportedly allow them to achieve better pricing power while making savings. Nonetheless, neither Vodafone nor FT-Orange have confirmed their intention to bid for the up-for-grabs cellco, although the latter’s CEO Stephane Richard had been cited as saying in August 2012 that his company would look at Yoigo if and when it came up for sale. ‘We would be interested… but the Spanish economy remains in a difficult phase, so financing a big acquisition there would be a big bet,’ Mr Richard was reported to have said, adding: ‘But from a strategic and industrial point of view, if there is an opportunity to consolidate the Spanish market, we would look at it.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in July 2012 it was claimed that TeliaSonera had hired Deutsche Bank to manage the sale of its 76% stake in Yoigo, as the Swedish telecoms group seeks to exit non-core markets in favour of Nordic countries and central Asia. It is understood that TeliaSonera is hoping that the stake sale may fetch as much as EUR1 billion (USD1.29 billion).