Charoen Pokphand Group—controlled by Thailand’s richest man Dhanin Chearavanont and his family—and Norwegian telecom provider Telenor are planning to merge their Thai telecom units in an $8.6 billion deal that would help foster new technologies in the Southeast Asian country.
The merger would fuse CP Group’s mobile operator True Corp. with Total Access Communication, which is majority-owned by Telenor. The combined company should command slightly more than half the mobile subscribers in Thailand, according to Reuters.
“We hope to empower a whole new generation to fulfill their potential to become digital entrepreneurs leveraging an advanced telecom infrastructure,” Suphachai Chearavanont, CP Group CEO and the youngest son of Dhanin Chearavanont, said in a statement. “The emergence in Thailand of IoT, AI, Cloud and new generations of mobile network technologies will have a huge effect on the way we do everything.”
CP Group’s main businesses are animal feed and livestock. The conglomerate also 7-Eleven convenience stores in Thailand. But CP Group has been taking steps towards digital businesses. In September, for example, mobile payments app operator Ascend Money, which is backed by CP Group, said it had raised $150 million in funding at a valuation of $1.5 billion.
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“We believe that the new company can take advantage of (digitization in Asia) to support Thailand’s digital leadership role, by taking global technology advancements into attractive services and high-quality products,” Telenor President and CEO Sigve Brekke says in the statement.