Blackstone, Telenor May Bid for TietoEnator

LONDON (Reuters) – Blackstone (BX.N: Quote, Profile, Research), Telenor (TEL.OL: Quote, Profile, Research) and EDB Business Partner (EDBASA.OL: Quote, Profile, Research) are in talks with TietoEnator (TIE1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research) about a white-knight bid for the Nordic IT services firm, people close to the matter said on Thursday.

The consortium is considering a plan to buy TietoEnator, which is fending off an unsolicited 1.08 billion euro ($1.67 billion) total offer from Swedish private equity firm Nordic Capital's Cidron unit, and merge it with EDB, although the structure of the bid has yet to be decided, the sources said.

EDB is 51 percent controlled by Telenor.

The sources said it was as yet undecided whether the three would bid together or not.

Blackstone declined to comment while nobody was immediately available for comment at TietoEnator.

“We will not comment on any specific rumors or speculation in the media,” Telenor spokesman Scott Engebrigtsen said.

“We have also previously stated that Telenor will support work done by EDB on finding industrial solutions going forward,” he added.

EDB spokesman Torgeir Kristiansen declined to confirm or deny the information. “We do not have any further comment than what we said a few weeks ago in a stock exchange release,” he said.

On April 22, EDB said that its board had not made a formal offer to the board of TietoEnator, but that it was keeping the situation under continuous review and had made no decision on further action. 

Nordic Capital on Wednesday extended to May 23 its offer at 15 euros a share to buy all of TietoEnator's shares.

(Reporting by Eleanor Wason; Additional reporting by John Acher in Oslo and Agnieszka Flak in Helsinki; Editing by Quentin Bryar)