Usmanov completes MegaFon buy; SMARTS buyout talks can proceed

20 Oct 2008

Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov has completed his acquisition of additional shares in the country’s third largest cellular operator by subscribers, MegaFon, raising his stake from around 5% to 31.1%. Usmanov has issued a press release claiming that all legal issues relating to former MegaFon shareholder Bermuda-based investment fund IPOC have now been settled. Usmanov now owns an 8% direct stake in MegaFon, with the remainder of his interest held via his 58.9% stake in the Telecominvest holding company. MegaFon’s other main shareholders are the Scandinavian telco TeliaSonera and the Russian industrial group Alfa.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has given MegaFon and its larger rival MTS the go-ahead to proceed with takeover negotiations with regional mobile operator SMARTS Group. Both MegaFon and MTS had filed requests with the watchdog for approval to buy out the smaller competitor and the FAS has now cleared the way for a takeover by either firm to proceed.

Russia, MegaFon, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), SMARTS Group