11 July 2002 -- The European Commission has given the Nordic region's biggest telecoms operator, Stockholm-based Telia AB, conditional approval for its Euro4.7bn takeover of Finland's Sonera Oyj - the first merger between two of Europe's former incumbent operators. Telia will hold 64% and Sonera 36%.
Telia has agreed to several concessions, including the sale of its Finnish mobile operations and Swedish cable-TV network. The two operators also promised to separate their fixed-line and mobile network businesses and to keep their networks open to competitors in Finland and Sweden. Telia was already planning to sell its loss-making Finnish mobile operations.
The Swedish and Finnish governments, which hold 70% of Telia and 53% of Sonera respectively, back the merger and will reduce their shareholdings over a five-year period.
Telia's March offer of Euro7.4bn in stock for Sonera has since fallen in value to Euro4.7bn.