Alfa sells 6% of Vimpelcom, cancelling shareholder agreement with Telenor

7 Jun 2011

Altimo, the telecoms holding arm of Russian conglomerate Alfa, has agreed to sell a 6% voting stake in cellular operator Vimpelcom, Reuters reports. Altimo said it will sell 123.6 million Vimpelcom preferred shares to Russian businessman Oleg Kiselev for USD100 million, signalling the end to a shareholder agreement with fellow Vimpelcom stakeholder Telenor. In April Altimo said it wanted to give new Vimpelcom shareholder Naguib Sawiris, the Egyptian chairman of Orascom Telecom Holding, a seat on Vimpelcom’s board, a move that would require an end to the deal with Norway’s Telenor. The announcement was made just hours after Vimpelcom completed its long-running USD6.5 billion merger with the telecoms assets of Sawiris, which was strongly opposed by Telenor. Altimo said the shareholders agreement with Telenor will dissolve six months after the closing of the deal, which is expected to happen ‘shortly.’ The shareholders agreement had included a clause that both sides had to retain a 25% stake or higher for the agreement to be valid. Altimo’s sale of a 6% stake will take its holding slightly below that level. Following the sale, Altimo will not increase its stake in Vimpelcom for twelve months, in line with the current shareholders agreement.

Russia, Beeline (Russia), Telenor Group, VEON