The Swedish government revealed plans back in 2008 to divest its remaining stake in the incumbent, but the unstable global economic climate has meant this has been put on hold.
France Telecom remains a key potential buyer for the government stake, but the minority nature of the holding may well deter many of the major European players.
TeliaSonera is a world leader in 4G, recently announcing significant investment in LTE as demand for mobile broadband services across its regions explodes.
The Swedish government has announced a series of sweeping reforms in its economic and social policies, including a planned reduction of its ownership in the country's incumbent operator TeliaSonera. The proposed reforms, worth some 32.7 billion Swedish kronor (US$4.4 billion) over the next four years, will be partially funded by a shake-up of public finances, including a sale of government shares in TeliaSonera, mortgage lender SBAB, and bank Nordea, of which the state owns stakes of 37.3%, 100%, and 19.9% respectively.
The announcement is part of the ruling coalition's manifesto ahead of the general election next month. Sweden was largely unscathed by the recent global economic downturn, boasting the strongest public finances in the European Union (EU) as exports boomed, meaning the country does not need to adopt the austerity measures seen elsewhere in the bloc.
The Swedish government has held its 37.3% stake in TeliaSonera since 2008, when it sold an 8% stake in the incumbent for 18 billion kronor to institutional investors. The government indicated at the time that it planned to divest the remaining stake, as part of pledges to reduce the state's involvement in running companies, attracting a bid from European giant France Telecom and interest from fellow Nordic player Telenor. However, the France Telecom bid of US$46 billion was deemed to be too low, and the unstable global economic climate has meant divestment plans have been put on hold.