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TeliaSonera CEO Says He’s in No Rush to Sell Yoigo Unit in Spain

TeliaSonera AB, Sweden’s biggest phone operator, isn’t in a rush to sell Spanish wireless carrier Yoigo, Chief Executive Officer Lars Nyberg said.

“I don’t want to sell too cheap, so let’s see if we can reach a position in which we have a buyer and a seller,” Nyberg said today in an interview in Barcelona, where he’s attending a conference organized by Morgan Stanley. “We are not in a hurry.”

TeliaSonera, which is cutting 2,000 jobs after third-quarter sales dropped, is also selling assets in Russia and Kazakhstan as the Stockholm-based company copes with slowing growth. Yoigo’s sales rose 21 percent in local currency to the equivalent of 2.3 billion kronor ($340 million) last quarter, defying Spain’s economic turmoil as customers switched to the discounter.

“Spain is a difficult market and the economy is a real problem, but actually that has helped Yoigo,” Nyberg said. “People are more careful with money and so we get more customers. I think this is the right time for this provided we get the right price.”

Vodafone Group Plc and France Telecom SA, which both already offer mobile-phone services there, were both expected to show interest in Yoigo. Nyberg declined to comment on the process, saying any deal may not be ready by the end of the year. Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said yesterday he would explore acquisitions in Spain.

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