Altimo and Telenor increase VimpelCom stakes
Altimo, part of the Alfa Group owned by Russian Billionaire Mikhail Fridman, and Nordic carrier Telenor have both opted to raise their stakes in carrier VimpelCom by purchasing shares from Egyption tycoon Naguib Sawiris’ Weather Investments II.
Yesterday Altimo raised its voting rights in VimpelCom to 40.5% with the acquisition of an additional 14.8% stake in the company for $3.6 billion.
This was followed today by an announcement from Telenor that it would exercise a share option it was given after increasing its stake in the Russian carrier in February, and will purchase an additional 3.5% stake from Weather for $113.6 million.
Telenor’s stake in VimpelCom will increase from 39.5% to 43% as a result of the deal, which is expected to close on October 1.
Yesterday’s purchase of 305 million additional shares by Altimo resulted in the company withdrawing its complaint against Weather II and Telenor. After claiming that Telenor’s acquisition of shares in VimpelCom in February violated the company’s statues and required a mandatory buyout offer for all of its shares.
Telenor also told Bloomberg that it expected the move to end a lawsuit by Russian competition regulator the FAS which is claiming that the Nordic carriers’ February stake increase was illegal.
Altimo is now reportedly looking to increase its stake in VimpelCom further by buying shares from Telenor. “We are calling on Telenor to sell some of its shares to even our stakes in the company,” Altimo’s Vice President Evgeny Dumalkin told the news agency.