Telenor admits willingness to consider Vimpelcom stake sale

2 Nov 2012

Norwegian telecoms group Telenor has adopted a new stance regarding its stake in Amsterdam-based international telecoms group Vimpelcom, Reuters reports, suggesting that it may be keen to bring an end to its decade-long ownership tussle with Russian partner Altimo. Yesterday, Telenor spokesman Dag Melgaard admitted: ‘What we are saying now is that if there is a bid, we will have a pragmatic stance. It depends on whether somebody is interested in buying. It is a large stake worth somewhere between NOK35 billion (USD6.14 billion) and NOK40 billion’.

With reference to Altimo’s agreement to purchase 123.6 million preferred shares from Ukrainian tycoon Viktor Pinchuk’s EastOne company (represented by Cyprus-based Bertofan Investments) earlier this week – which allowed it to boost its stake in Vimpelcom 41.90% to 47.85% – Melgaard added: ‘We proposed a solution to get parity in the company, and Altimo has now obviously made clear that they are not interested in that. They want control’. However, he stressed that there had been no talks with Altimo over a potential deal thus far, revealing: ‘We haven’t asked for a bid’.

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