Telenor has entered into an agreement to sell a number of fiber infrastructure assets in Sweden to GlobalConnect.
Under the $ 3 billion ($ 330 million) agreement, Telenor Sweden will hand over control of the fiber-wholesaler Open Universe, which connects 200,000 homes with fiber, and a further 14,000 premises to which it has directly connected.
We are gradually getting used to telecom operators making money on their fiber assets by selling to or partnering with investment companies, but this deal is a little different. GlobalConnect describes itself as a provider of digital infrastructure and data communications; in essence, it provides services across its own fiber infrastructure and via data center space in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Finland. GlobalConnect buys itself a certain scale.
The company says it will retain the Open Universe name and business model, which means it will provide fiber connectivity to retailers, including Telenor Sweden; Open Universe has also been part of the Telenor Group for the past decade. It says it will continue to partner with municipalities, property owners and urban networks and will drive the availability of fiber broadband to Swedish households.
GlobalConnect will package Telenor Sweden’s direct fiber network, which connects single-dwelling units, or SDUs, into its own FTTH activities in the country, and will embark on a program for expansion and densification.
GlobalConnect has also indicated that the acquisition of Telenor’s Swedish fiber assets may not be the end of its inorganic growth plans, and notes that acquisitions are part of the company’s business strategy to increase its presence in its northern European operating area.
“We see market consolidation as a natural development in our industry, which will ultimately accelerate digitalisation and social inclusion across society. We will therefore continue to explore possible acquisitions across all our markets, provided that they fit our business model and can contribute to an even stronger offer to our customers, ”says Martin Lippert, CEO GlobalConnect Group.
“Acquiring Open Universe and valuable fiber assets from Telenor Sweden fits perfectly into our strategy,” he said.
Given that the telecom operator’s fiber strategies seem to be about selling as much as building at the moment, there may be no shortage of available assets when GlobalConnect is ready to take its next step. It seems that it will be a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ we hear from this company again.
In the meantime, it and Telenor will work to close this agreement. Subject to regulatory approvals and the like, they expect it to be completed in the first quarter of next year.