Ucom founders resign amid VEON takeover bid

14 Apr 2020

The board of directors at fixed, broadband and mobile operator Ucom have hastily issued a statement insisting that the altnet will always be ‘an Armenian company’. The move comes just days after its management, including co-founders Hayk and Aleksandr Yesayan, and several hundred employees resigned after disagreements between senior staff and shareholders who reportedly want to appoint Beeline CEO Andrey Pyatakhin at the helm of Ucom once the two companies merge, PanARMENIAN.Net reports.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, on 30 December 2019 Ucom submitted an application to the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) seeking approval to acquire larger rival VEON Armenia (trading as Beeline). Subsequently, a statement from VEON Ltd dated 15 January confirmed that it had ‘entered into discussions with Ucom LLC regarding such a potential transaction’, while on 13 February the State Commission for Protection of Economic Competition of the Republic of Armenia (SCPEC) began the process of considering Ucom’s application – amid concerns over how the takeover could impact the domestic market, given that both Beeline and Ucom are dominant forces in the fixed and mobile segments.

The Yesayan brothers and their team started Ucom back in 2009 with several Armenian and diaspora businessmen acquiring shares in the coming years. With the brothers’ share today at 6% following their resignations, the board of directors has only confirmed that a new Director General will be appointed and promised that the telco will ‘always remain an Armenian company’.

Armenia, Team Telecom Armenia (formerly Beeline), Ucom