PSO reportedly planning to buy Telenor to expand its business beyond oil
Pakistan State Oil (PSO) is reportedly conducting due diligence on the Pakistani operations of a Norwegian telecommunications operator, in response to Telenor’s plans to sell its Pakistani operations valued at around $1 billion. Pending regulatory approval, PSO has expressed interest in acquiring Telenor Pakistan and Easypaisa, following the completion of bidding documentation and due diligence.
Easypaisa, a leading mobile wallet, mobile payments, and branchless banking services provider, boasts a significant customer base of nine million monthly active users. Launched in 2009 as a money transfer service through Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channels, Easypaisa introduced a mobile app in 2016, offering a broad range of financial transactions. Telenor Microfinance Bank owns Easypaisa, and jointly, Telenor Group most recently launched a debit card on January 17, 2023.
According to Mettis Global, Telenor Pakistan’s decision to exit the market stems from heavy taxation on the telecommunications industry and the policies of the Pakistani Telecommunication Authority (PTA), which have significantly reduced its revenues. Although Telenor Pakistan has faced operational losses for the past three years, there is no certainty that discussions regarding the sale of its Pakistani operations will result in a transaction.
For PSO, the potential acquisition of Telenor’s operations in Pakistan aligns with its efforts to expand its business beyond traditional oil and gas. If successful, the acquisition could enable PSO to diversify its revenue streams and leverage Pakistan’s growing digital payments market.
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