According to a report by Reuters, Norway’s Telenor and Russia’s Alfa Group have moved a step closer to completing a merger of their jointly-held assets, Vimpelcom and Kyivstar, announcing a share exchange offer which will close in mid-April 2010. Under the offer investors in Vimpelcom have been asked to approve the deal by agreeing to exchange their shares in the Russian cellco for shares in the newly merged entity, Vimpelcom Ltd, or a nominal cash payment. Vimpelcom said its board had recommended shareholders exchange their shares. ‘We continue to support the transaction which we believe will create value for the company’s stakeholders,’ chief executive Boris Nemsic said. If the offer completes successfully, with over 95% of company equity transferred, Vimpelcom Ltd will acquire all the shares of Kyivstar, subject to the Ukrainian anti-monopoly regulator approval. Vimpelcom Ltd chief executive, Alexander Izosimov, said: ‘The Ukrainian decision is the necessary condition for the deal. We hope that while the offer process goes during the next 70 days, we will get it.’ Russia’s competition watchdog has already cleared the deal, although it could still impose conditions on it.