Telenor raises Vimpelcom stake following JP Morgan deal

5 Apr 2012

Norway’s Telenor Group has announced that it has raised its stake in international telecoms giant Vimpelcom from 31.67% to 35.66% after striking a deal with minority shareholder JP Morgan Securities. Telenor confirmed that it has terminated a cash-settled total return swap agreement that it entered into with global financial services firm JP Morgan on 22 July 2011, and which was subsequently amended on 7 October. Following the termination of the agreement, Telenor bought depositary receipts representing 65 million Vimpelcom shares from JP Morgan, for a total price of USD715 million.

The Norwegian company now owns a 35.66% economic stake in Vimpelcom and a 39.51% voting stake. The Russian telecoms giant, which is now headquartered in Amsterdam and listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), is co-owned by Russian holding company Altimo, with 31.351% (24.998% voting rights) and Wind Telecom (formerly Weather Investments), the holding company owned by Egyptian telecoms entrepreneur Naguib Sawiris, with 18.782% equity (18.280% voting rights). Prior to Telenor’s deal with JP Morgan, ‘minority shareholders’ (18.201% equity) held 14.374% worth of voting rights, whilst Bertofan Investments holds a 5.995% voting stake, via its December 2011 acquisition of a number of preferred shares, albeit without any actual equity in the company. Sawiris was granted his stake in April 2011 following Vimpelcom’s USD6.5 billion merger with Wind Telecom.

Russia, Altimo (part of the Alfa Group), Telenor Group, VEON