Reuters reports that Russian conglomerate Alfa Group – headed by billionaire Mikhail Fridman – has confirmed making an offer to take complete control of Vimpelcom’s Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) subsidiary, via a Cypriot firm owned by Alfa’s telecoms arm Altimo. The report said that Altimo today said that it had offered to buy 100% of Egypt-based OTH although part-owner Vimpelcom will not tender its shares in the offer, which could be interpreted to mean that the Vimpelcom group would effectively take full control of OTH via the proposed buyout. Russian-backed, Amsterdam-based Vimpelcom currently owns a 51.9% stake in OTH via directly held and subsidiary holdings, while Altimo is Vimpelcom’s largest shareholder although it has less than 50% voting rights in the group.
Earlier this month CommsUpdate reported that Fridman offered to buy out the 5.25 billion OTH shares currently floated on the Egyptian Stock Exchange for USD0.70 per share, via Baskindale Limited, a company based in Cyprus and wholly owned by Altimo. The move followed Alfa offloading a Russian oil producer for USD14 billion.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Vimpelcom acquired a 51.7% stake in OTH, encompassing telecoms assets in Algeria (Djezzy), Canada (Wind Mobile), Pakistan (Mobilink), Bangladesh (Banglalink), Zimbabwe (Telecel), Burundi (U-Com) and the Central African Republic (Telecel), as part of its USD6.5 billion merger with Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris’ Wind Telecom (formerly Weather Investments).