Telenor's takeover of Utfors given approval

20 December 2002 -- The agreement for Norwegian incumbent Telenor to become the principal shareholder in Swedish datacom network operator Utfors has been given approval.

20 December 2002 -- The agreement for Norwegian incumbent telecoms operator Telenor, based in Fornebu, to become the principal shareholder in Stockholm-based Utfors AB has been given final approval by the Swedish Competition Authority and an extraordinary General Meeting of Utfors.

Telenor subsidiary Telenor Business Solutions, which employs 4300 people in 10 countries, is paying SEK264m for a 90% stake in Utfors, in exchange for Utfors gaining the stock of Telenor Business Solutions' Swedish operations, Telenor Business Solutions AB. Telenor is therefore concentrating its Swedish business market activities in one new company, consisting of the integrated Telenor Business Solutions AB and Utfors AB. Bj?rn Johan Flakstad is its CEO, after heading up Telenor-owned Hungarian mobile operator Pannon.

"Utfors has a modern and powerful network infrastructure within data communications which, combined with Telenor Business Solutions' services within telephony and data communications, positions us as Telias' main contender in the Swedish market," says Morten Lundal, CEO of Telenor Business Solutions AS.
"This transaction will make us a leading provider of the future workplace solutions within the Nordic region. We are making a commitment to Utfors' customers by maintaining the services offered today, while at the same time strengthening our complete portfolio by combining the services of the two companies," said Lundal.

As market trends shifts towards convergence between voice and data communications, customers will be fully served by a single network solution, ensuring simplicity and flexibility, says Telenor.

Both Telenor Business Solutions AB's CEO Lars Persson and Utfors' CEO Jan Werne have stepped down. "Utfors' position as a contender and innovator in the Swedish broadband market, from start-up to listing on the stock exchange, has been built up impressively by Jan Werne over the past years," says Jan-Edvard Thygesen, new chairman of the board for Telenor's business market activities in Sweden. "Utfors' unique infrastructure and competence within data communications, complemented with Telenor's strong position, give us exciting opportunities," he adds.

"The Utfors board and management have endeavoured to find the best possible solution for Utfors' clients, lenders, employees and shareholders. Telenor has the financial strength, technological competence and market vision to manage and develop the customer base and services that we have developed in recent years," said Sven-Christer Nilsson, chairman of the board at Utfors.

* Telenor reorganises

Earlier, on 6 December, Telenor said that, as of 1 January 2003, it is to be reorganised to create a more robust organisation, capable of continuing the development of Norwegian activities and securing continued growth in the international mobile portfolio.

"Telenor is strongly committed to improve services for our customers in the domestic market and to elaborate a clearer strategy for our international activities," said CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas.

To simplify and strengthen Telenor's position in the domestic market, a separate Norwegian market area will be established, in which all sales and marketing activities for the mobile and fixed-network areas will be combined, managed by Morten Karlsen S?rby (who will be part of the Corporate Management).

A smaller and more business-oriented Corporate Management will have only seven members, consisting of:
-- CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas;
-- senior executive vice president Arve Johansen;
-- senior executive vice president and chief financial officer Torstein Moland;
-- executive vice president Jan Edvard Thygesen;
-- executive vice president Stig Eide Sivertsen;
-- executive vice president Morten Karlsen Sorbye; and
-- executive vice president and chief technical officer Berit Svendsen.

The group will have three business areas:
-- Mobile, headed by Johansen, will encompass management of all international mobile activities in consolidated and associated mobile companies.
-- Networks, headed by Thygesen, will encompass fixed-network development and operation in Norway, as well as international fixed-network activities.
-- Broadcast, headed by Sivertsen, will encompass all broadcast activities, such as content and interactive services for TV, including Canal Digital.

"The new management and organisational model shall contribute to simplify Telenor for customers, employees and owners," said CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas.

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