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Telstra Closes $2.4B Digicel Deal

Telstra has successfully completed its takeover of Digicel Pacific for A$2.4 billion, a purchase widely seen as a political move to counter China’s creeping influence in the region.

The Australian government, through Export Finance Australia, paid for the lion’s share of the purchase, contributing US$1.33 billion (A$1.97 billion) of the US$1.6 billion, with Telstra only putting in US$270m (A$400 million) in equity.

Digicel is the largest telco in the Pacific, with 2.5 million subscribers. It runs 3G and 4G networks across PNG, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu and Tahiti.

Digicel Pacific will be operated by Telstra International as a stand-alone business, and overseen by a Telstra-controlled board, chaired by Telstra Enterprise group executive David Burns.

“We are very pleased the deal has completed and we welcome Digicel Pacific to the Telstra family,” CEO Andy Penn said.

“We have been working closely with Pacific governments on this acquisition and we’d like to thank them for their co-operation and support.

“We look forward to continuing to work with them as we operate Digicel Pacific and strengthen our relationships in the region.”

Foreign affairs minister Penny Wong said: “The Australian government’s support for this transaction reflects our commitment to help build a stronger Pacific family through investment in high-quality infrastructure.

“Telecommunications and digital access are critical to sustainable economic growth and development outcomes into the future.”

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