Swedish telecoms giant TeliaSonera is being assessed for a possible takeover by Stockholm-based private equity firm Cevian Capital, according to reports appearing this week in the financial press. The fund and its allies have already acquired a combined stake of ‘many percent’ in the operator, local newspaper Dagens Industri reported, quoting unnamed independent sources. Cevian is reportedly attracted to TeliaSonera’s strong balance sheet, low valuation, and wide-reaching international corporate structure. Other funds which are reported to have bought shares in TeliaSonera include Zenit, Eikos, Mercury Fonder, GMO International Funds, T Rowe Price, ING Fonder, and Capital Group which owns eleven million shares. The Swedish government is the majority shareholder in TeliaSonera with a holding of 43.5% as of end-2005, whilst the Finnish government held 12.7% at the same date; the remainder is distributed. Recent reports have suggested that the Swedish government is planning the sale of a large portion of its shares in the telco.
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