Lebanese investment company M1 Group has bought Telenor Group, one of the largest telecom companies operating in Myanmar.
The move to sell the Norwegian-owned company was announced in a press release on Thursday by Telenor Group, which said that it had entered an agreement to sell 100% of its mobile operations in Myanmar to M1 Group for $105 million, of which $55 million is “a deferred payment over five years.”
The company had been unstable since a coup d’état took place in Myanmar on February 1st, 2021, due to the consequent pressure imposed on the telecommunications sector by the military.
A few months ago, Telenor expressed concern about Myanmar authorities’ plans for an intercept that would allow them to directly access each operator and ISP’s systems without case-by-case approval.
M1 Group was founded by Lebanese former Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his brother Taha, each of whom is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $2.7 billion.
The company’s investments have included commercial airlines, stakes in companies such as South African telecom firm MTN and fashion company Pepe Jeans, in addition to real estate in the U.S., the UK, and Monaco.
The Mikati family also owns the Lebanese news website Lebanon24.
Notably, after some of his institutions, along with other sites in his hometown of Tripoli, were vandalized earlier this year, Najib Mikati warned that he would arm himself if the situation in Tripoli wasn’t contained.
“M1 Group will acquire all the shares in Telenor Myanmar and continue the current operation,” Telenor said in the press release.
It’s worth mentioning that the Lebanese company was a stakeholder in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Green Towers (IGT), the largest independent tower company in the country, before it was sold earlier this year.