Axiata Group Bhd president and group chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim says the due diligence of proposed merger between the group and Norwegian Telenor Group's Asian operations is on track to be completed within the given timeframe. NST picture by Zulfadhli Zulkifli

KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Group Bhd president and group chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim said the due diligence of proposed merger between the group and Norwegian Telenor Group's Asian operations is on track to be completed within the given timeframe.

“The discussion is ongoing. When we announced in early May, we said that the full agreement might take three to six months. This is our fourth month.

“Of course it is not as fast people think should happen but it is still within the range of what we expected. It does not reflect any problem. it is just reflect a lot to be discussed,” Jamaludin told reporters at a briefing on Axiata’s interim results here today.

To put it into perspective, Jamaludin said almost all mergers and acquisitions (M&As) globally only involved one country and one big entity.

In the case of Axiata-Telenor, it involves 14 large entities, across nine countries.

“You can imagine how big and complex this is. Most deals are centred primarily on commercial deal.

“Our deal involved other two major factors, equally important. They include national interest and staff interest. There is a lot of terms to be agreed upon.

“It is an abnormal deal. This is the single biggest M&A transaction since 20 years worldwide except North Asia. The biggest that we have seen. But overall, we are on target. I am optimistic that it can be concluded by early November,” he said.

Jamaludin added that the due diligence had progressed to around 70 per cent.

His remarks directly debunked several news reports that said the merger had hit a snag.

Quoting at least three sources, one of the reports said the talks were proving difficult to conclude, and that there were many issues that make it difficult to go through with the merger.

In its bid to stay true to the national agenda, Axiata has added a couple of terms under the agreement. This included the chairman of MergedCo, as a result from the merger of Celcom and Digi, would be from Axiata.

Besides that, for the proposed MalaysiaCo, the chairman will be nominated by Axiata and will be a Malaysian.

It has also been agreed that the majority of board members will be Malaysians and the CEO will also be a Malaysia.

ends

748 reads