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U.S. interest positive for Ericsson, says top owner Cevian

STOCKHOLM, Feb 7 (Reuters) - U.S. interest in buying a stake in Ericsson would be positive for the company, but any deal would have to be at a far higher price level than today’s valuation, major Ericsson owner and activist investor Cevian Capital said on Friday.

The comments come after U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday said the United States and its allies should consider the highly unusual step of taking a “controlling stake” in Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson to counter China-based Huawei’s dominance in next-generation 5G wireless technology.

“A U.S. interest in Ericsson is clearly positive for Sweden, the company and the shareholders,” Cevian Capital managing partner Christer Gardell told Reuters in e-mailed comments.

“A potential deal would have to be based on a completely different valuation level than today’s ridiculous share price for Ericsson,” Gardell added.

Cevian is Ericsson’s largest owner by shares though not voting rights. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard)