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M1 set to partner with local firm for Telenor takeover

21 Jan 2022

Lebanon’s M1 Group will reportedly partner with a local Myanmar firm to acquire Telenor Myanmar, Reuters writes, citing three sources familiar with the matter. The takeover of Telenor by M1 alone was reportedly nixed by the junta, which instead sought a local buyer for the mobile provider. Two of the sources – which declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter – claimed that conglomerate Shwe Byain Phyu Group (SBP), which has links to the Burmese military, would partner with M1 to acquire Telenor Myanmar.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the Norwegian-owned group sought to exit the market following the military coup in February 2021 and in July that year it agreed to sell its Myanmar division to M1 Group for USD105 million. The deal has faced several challenges, however. The junta withheld approval of the transaction, with the military reported to have favoured ownership by a local partner instead. Whilst the junta’s opposition to the agreed transaction between Telenor and M1 is widely known, the government is understood to have not yet formally rejected the proposal. Meanwhile, the decision to sell the business to M1 sparked criticism from human rights activists, amidst fears that the company would comply with the regime’s demands to install surveillance equipment and hand over potentially sensitive information on its customers.

Myanmar, Atom Myanmar (formerly Telenor), M1 Group (Lebanon), Telenor Group

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