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Tele2 Russia set to be sold to VTB

Tele2 is preparing to sell its Russian business, Tele2 Russia, to compatriot bank VTB, despite rumours of a counter bid from investment bank A1.

VTB has a fee in place of approximately $3.55 billion, but it is thought A1, the investment arm of Alfa Group is looking to outbid the bank, as competition for Tele2 Russia hots up. 

The proposed deal saw Tele2 receive $2.4 billion in cash, with VTB taking over $1.15 billion in net debt, which VTB chief executive Mats Granryd said represented a good deal.

“We have a fantastic option now to transform Tele2,” he said. A1, however, is also preparing a bid for Tele2.

"The price offered by VTB is below market and we're prepared to increase it," said Andrei Polyakovsky, an A1 spokesman.

"A price for the entirety of Tele2 is in the works - we are running the figures on a possible offer for the entire business."

A1 is thought to be readying a deal in the region of $3.5 to $4 billion to out-bid Russian bank VTB, in a deal which is said to be one of the biggest since the economic downturn.

The Russian consortium already own Altimo, Turkcell and VimpelCom in the telecoms market.

Tele2 Russia is attributing $1.92 billion of the proceeds back to shareholders through a dividend.

Tele2 considered the divestment of its Russian business when it missed out on a Russian 4G licence last summer.