Ucom co-founders, brothers Hayk and Aleksandr Yesayan, are reportedly willing to pay up to AMD34 billion (USD70.2 million) for the roughly 94% of the company they do not own, up from a previous offer of AMD22.1 billion. PanARMENIAN.Net writes that the offer came in the wake of the resignation of the two co-founders, who along with their team started Ucom back in 2009 but have since seen several Armenian and diaspora businessmen acquiring shares in the altnet. The brothers’ decision to walk away was reciprocated when Ucom’s management and several hundred employees also resigned – seemingly in protest at a decision by shareholders to appoint VEON Armenia (trading as Beeline) CEO Andrey Pyatakhin at the helm of Ucom once the two companies merge.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, on 30 December 2019 Ucom applied to the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) seeking approval to acquire larger rival 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.