Soros dumps Sviazinvest stake

17 Mar 2004

George Soros has reportedly agreed to sell his stake in Russian telecoms holding company Sviazinvest to local investor Access Industries for between USD600 million and USD700 million. The deal draws a line under what Mr Soros once called ‘the worst investment of my life’. Soros was part of a consortium which paid USD1.8 billion for a 25% plus one share holding in Sviazinvest in 1997. Sviazinvest holds controlling stakes in seven regional telecoms companies as well as an interest in Rostelecom, Russia’s principal long-distance operator. Shareholders in Mustcom, a holding company in which Soros owns two thirds of the equity, have yet to formally vote on the transaction, but the move is thought likely to get the green light. The change in ownership could pave the way for the privatisation of the state’s 75% stake in Sviazinvest.