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Telenor To Sell Satellite Interests?

By | February 13, 2002

      Only weeks after acquiring Comsat Mobile Communications, Oslo-based Telenor is reportedly mulling the sale of all or part of its satellite operations, according to a report in Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv. Tore Hilde, Telenor Satellite Services (TSS) managing director, is quoted as stating that his company is looking at what options are commercially viable. More information might emerge during an analysts’ conference scheduled for Valentine’s Day.

      At the time of the Comsat deal, Hilde said Telenor was keen to get hold of Comsat’s two Inmarsat ground stations in California and Connecticut. The California station gives Telenor access to the Pacific Ocean region. Telenor is already Inmarsat’s largest shareholder, having picked up another 8 percent of Inmarsat from Lockheed Martin, taking Telenor’s total holdings to 15 percent. Lockheed Martin still retains 14 percent of Inmarsat.

      Separately, TSS’ parent Telenor will lose its CEO, Tormod Hermansen, in June. In a statement, Telenor said the decision is in accordance with the terms of Hermansen’s contract and has been approved by the board. The 61-year old CEO took up the top position at the Norwegian carrier in January 1991, when it was still know as Televerket. Prior to that, he held numerous ministerial and public administration roles. Telenor signed a merger agreement in March 1999 with Swedish state-owned carrier Telia. However, the arrangement subsequently fell apart and was voluntarily dissolved.

      Last September, Telenor sold its directories business to U.S. private equity group Texas Pacific Group for $670.4 million in cash.

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