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Norwegian Government to Reduce its Stake in Telenor

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Norway's government has announced plans to sell of a further 20 percent stake in Telenor, reducing its holding to below 50 percent for the first time.

At the moment, the Norwegian government owns 54% of Telenor, and will reduce it to 34% as part of a wider move by the government to reduce its stakes in government controlled companies.

The 20 percent stake that is being sold is currently worth around US$7.1 billion.

Industry Ministry said that the sale is not imminent, but will support potential mergers, acquisitions or other "strategic changes that may create value". The government, which sits on a USD880 billion sovereign wealth fund is not short of cash, so the sale is more a matter of political policy to reduce political oversight of companies than as a forced cash raising issue.

Having a government as a majority owner of a company seeking overseas deals has on occasions proven to be problematic for telecoms operators, although it has not overly hampered Telenor which has operations in 11 countries.

Telenor did not comment on the sale, which is an issue for the shareholder not the company.

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Tags: telenor  Norway