September 6, 2019 / 6:54 AM / 9 days ago

Norway's Telenor and Malaysia's Axiata call off Asia JV talks

OSLO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Norway’s Telenor and Malaysia’s Axiata Group have ended talks about creating a telecoms joint venture with nearly 300 million customers across South Asia and Southeast Asia, Telenor said on Friday.

“Due to some complexities involved in the proposed transaction, the parties have mutually agreed to end the discussions,” Telenor said in a statement, without elaborating.

The deal would have created an entity worth $40 billion including debt, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters in May when the talks were first announced in the largest cross-border merger in Asia, excluding China and Japan.

“Both parties still acknowledge the strong strategic rationale of the proposed transaction. The parties do not rule out that a future transaction could be possible,” Telenor said.

A deal would have combined the two companies’ South Asian and Southeast Asian operations.

The Norwegian mobile operator was to have owned a 56.5% stake and Axiata the remaining 43.5% with no cash changing hands, the companies had said. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; editing by Jason Neely)

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