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.