Nordic operator Telenor agreed to sell a 30 per cent stake in its fibre broadband unit to a consortium including investment company KKR for NOK10.8 billion ($1 billion), cash it will use for share buy-backs.

Telenor stated the deal with KKR and life insurance company Oslo Pensjonsforsikring is the conclusion of a process it announced last month to establish a separate arm for its infrastructure unit, with a minority co-investor.

The newly-established Telenor Fiber will own the group’s passive fibre assets, including 130,000km of cables connecting more than 560,000 homes.

Telenor emphasised the transaction will not affect customers and is expected to be completed in 2023.

Unlocking capital
It said the deal values the business at NOK36.1 billion, with the proceeds of the stake sale to be used for a share buy-back scheme “to mitigate the effects of the new minority interests”.

Terms of the agreement grant Telenor the right to acquire the minority stake in the event of a future sale. The government also has the opportunity to exercise the right to acquire the minority stake, should the operator choose not to.

Telenor positioned the sale as being beneficial to Norway’s telecoms infrastructure market, unlocking capital to support the country’s fibre rollout and bring in investors with a long-term vision.

KKR oversees approximately $49 billion of infrastructure investments globally while Oslo Pensjonsforsikring manages assets of around NOK125 billion in Norway, across infrastructure and property.