Russian long-distance operator Rostelecom, controlled by state-backed holding company Svyazinvest, has accepted an offer to sell its 11% stake in compatriot alternative telco Golden Telecom to Vimpelcom, the country’s second largest mobile operator. The decision was made by Rostelecom’s board of directors following a recommendation from the telco’s strategic planning committee. Under the terms of an offer made by Lillian Acquisition, a Vimpelcom subsidiary, the stake will be sold for roughly USD460 million. Vimpelcom is in the process of acquiring all the shares in Golden Telecom through an ongoing tender offer which values the company at around USD4.3 billion. Prior to the share offer Golden Telecom was owned by Altimo (26.6%), Telenor (18.3%), Rostelecom (11%) and Inure (7.9%), with the remaining 36.2% in free float. Altimo and Telenor will retain their ownership in Golden as they are the two largest shareholders in Vimpelcom.
In other news, Golden Telecom is reported to be in talks with shareholding partner Inure to buy the remaining 49% of broadband operator Corbina Telecom that it does not already own. Golden paid USD162 million for a 51% stake in the Moscow-based telco and ISP in a deal that was completed in May 2007.