Usmanov linked with USD5bn swoop for MegaFon stake

3 Apr 2012

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov is considering buying fellow shareholder Mikhail Fridman’s 25.1% stake in mobile phone giant MegaFon for around USD5 billion, RBC Daily reports. The stake in question is currently held by Cyprus-based Allaction Ltd, itself part of Russian investment firm Alfa Group, which was founded by Fridman, Russia’s seventh richest man, in 1989.

Usmanov completed his acquisition of an 8% direct stake and a 58.9% interest in AF Telecom Holding (also known as Telecominvest) in October 2008, giving him a combined direct and indirect stake of 31.13% in MegaFon. If approved, the deal between the two tycoons will allow Usmanov to gain management control over the company. According to an Alfa Group asset manager who wished to remain anonymous, Usmanov has negotiated the price of the stake down from USD7 billion. MegaFon’s main shareholder is currently TeliaSonera (43.77%).

TeleGeography notes that Fridman’s Alfa Group is also a shareholder in rival cellco Vimpelcom, via its Altimo telecoms unit.

Russia, Altimo (part of the Alfa Group), MegaFon, Telia Company