Singtel denied an Australian Financial Review (AFR) report it was in advanced discussions to sell Optus to private equity company Brookfield Asset Management for AUD16 billion ($10.6 billion), stating the subsidiary remains an integral part of its group.  

The Singapore-headquartered operator made a stock exchange announcement shortly after the AFR story broke, stating there was no impending deal to offload Optus for the said sum, adding it remained committed to Australia for the long-term.

Optus has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons recently, after a 12-hour network outage affected more than 10 million people in November 2023, an incident which led to the departure of CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin and a fine of AUD1.5 million.

Its MD of networks Lambo Kanagaratnam quit the company last week.

Singtel stated its current focus for Optus “has been on improving network resilience and conducting a CEO search”.

However, it also added it regularly conducts strategics reviews of its portfolio to optimise the value of assets and businesses “and will explore all options to maximise shareholder value”.

The company also warned shareholders and potential investors to exercise caution in their review of any media reports relating to Optus, after Singtel shares rose 4 per cent following the AFR report.

AFR cited an unnamed source as speculating the sale of Optus. It also reported Brookfield Asset Management was expected to bring in a consortium partner to seal the deal, with Canada’s CPP Investment Board suggested as a candidate.

The news of a possible sale of Optus comes a week after Singtel cut its stake in Bharti Airtel, raising $711.1 million.