Telia buys Spanish mobile operator

Telia Sonera has become the principal owner of Spanish mobile operator Xfera Móvile and plans to invest 9 billion kronor in a national 3G network in Spain.

The Nordic telephony giant is paying 657 million kronor to increase its share of the company from 16.5 to 80 percent. The company plans to use Xfrea Móvile’s license to build a Spanish 3G network.

The news caused the Swedish-Finnish company’s shares to fall by about six percent on the Stockholm exchange on Thursday afternoon.

Telia Sonera’s CEO Anders Igel defended the deal.

“Getting control over the company was an absolute condition of being able to carry out this deal,” he told news agency TT.

Telia’s strategy has previously been to strengthen its position on the Nordic, Russian and Baltic markets. But Igel denied that the purchase of the Spanish company implied a change in strategy.

“Absolutely not. We are using are strengths and competence to build and run telephone networks. Spain might seem a bit further away, but it doesn’t change our focus.

Igel said he was “prepared to do further deals.”

“But we are also prepared to wait for a good investment.”