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Ericsson ‘talking to advisers’ about selling $1.2bn number portability unit

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Activist investor Cevian Capital has told Ericsson that it should sell its 83.3% stake in US number portability company Iconectiv, formerly Telcordia.

Cevian is the largest shareholder in Ericsson, but last week reduced its stake in the company from 8.4% to 7.4%, saying the proceeds would be invested in other companies.

But Stockholm-based Cevian – which is backed by former corporate raider Carl Icahn – wants Iconectiv to be sold as part of changes it wants Ericsson to make.

For the past two years Iconectiv has been the local number portability administrator for the US, under a contract awarded in 2015 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Iconectiv provides routing and billing services in other parts of the world.

The Bloomberg news agency is reporting that Ericsson has started the sale process, working with an adviser that is talking to private equity companies.

Ericsson bought Iconectiv, then called Telcordia, from Providence Equity Partners and Warburg Pincus for US$1.15 billion in a deal that was completed in January 2012. Those private equity investors had held 50-50 stakes in Telcordia for seven years.

Ericsson sold a 16.7% stake to Francisco Partners for $200 million in 2017, valuing Iconectiv at $1.2 billion.

Now, according to Bloomberg, Iconectiv could be worth $1.5 billion to $2 billion. But neither Ericsson nor Iconectiv are commenting.

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