OSLO (Reuters) -Malaysian telecoms firm Axiata Group and Norway's Telenor ASA have been given clearance from the Securities Commission Malaysia for the proposed merger of their local units, Telenor said on Thursday.
Facing stiff competition in the competitive Malaysian market, Axiata and Telenor announced last year the planned tie-up between Celcom Axiata and DiGi.Com, forming a new market leader called Celcom Digi.
Two sources with knowledge of the deal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters last year that Celcom Digi would have an enterprise value of $15 billion.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said in June it had no objections to the plans.
"The completion of the proposed transaction will now be subject to approval of Bursa Malaysia and Axiata and Digi shareholders," Telenor said in a statement, adding that the deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
The union of Malaysia's second and third largest mobile services providers will create a Kuala Lumpur-listed company with around 19 million subscribers and annual revenue of some $3 billion, Axiata and Telenor have said.
The two parent companies plan to own 33.1% each.
Celcom Digi's main competitor would be the current largest telecoms operator in the country, Maxis Bhd.
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Stine Jacobsen and Susan Fenton)