Negotiations between the Algerian government and the Russian-backed Vimpelcom group regarding the former’s purchase of local mobile subsidiary Djezzy – a unit of Vimpelcom – have reportedly been suspended, two unnamed government officials indicated to Dow Jones Newswires. According to the anonymous sources, at a meeting in Paris two weeks ago, ‘Vimpelcom presented ten points regarding a new shareholders agreement on Djezzy and all of the points were rejected by the Algerian side. After the Paris meetings, the Algerian government stopped any further communication with Vimpelcom.’ Both sides declined to comment on the development, which now throws into doubt the proposed auction of 3G/3G+ service licences. The Algerian government had previously postponed the tender in order to complete the acquisition of Djezzy first.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the African country’s government has been in discussions for more than two years to purchase a stake in the lucrative Djezzy unit, which was previously controlled by Egyptian telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris through his Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) unit, which was merged with Vimpelcom in a USD6.5 billion deal in April 2011.