Yesayan brothers seek to purchase VEON Armenia through new venture ‘Team’

10 Jun 2020

Team LLC (originally dubbed AllNet), the new venture set up by brothers Hayk and Aleksandr Yesayan in April of this year after they jumped ship from another altnet, Ucom, has announced it is forging ahead with its plan to purchase the country’s largest operator VEON Armenia (Beeline). Local press reports say that the brothers – widely credited with turning Ucom into one of the country’s most successful businesses before they unloaded their shares amid a dispute over the direction of the firm’s future – have applied to the State Commission for Protection of Economic Competition (SCPEC) for a permit to buy 100% of the shares in VEON. The move reportedly follows VEON’s own filing to SCPEC and the Public Services Regulatory Committee (PSRC), seeking permission to sell its shares to Team LLC, which will trade under the banner Team.Telecom Armenia.

‘Team is paving a new way in Armenia’s telecom and digital services market and this purchase will help us further enhance our professional team and develop the infrastructure,’ Team CEO Hayk Yesayan is cited as saying, after confirming the reports about the possible VEON deal. ‘Team.Telecom Armenia has already begun designing and building a next generation network,’ he added, noting that the purchase of VEON Armenia could ‘further accelerate’ the introduction of new services and solutions for the Armenian people.

TeleGeography notes that in April this year the Yesayan brothers, who along with a small management team started Armenian alternative operator Ucom back in 2009, announced plans to create a new company called ‘AllNet’, aiming to ‘create a better operator than the one we founded twelve years ago’. Earlier that month the two brothers and several hundred employees had resigned from Ucom after disagreements between senior staff and shareholders who reportedly wanted to appoint VEON Armenia (Beeline) CEO Andrey Pyatakhin at the helm of Ucom if a merger of the two operators went through. In the wake of the brothers leaving, however, Amsterdam-based VEON withdrew from talks over the possible sale of VEON Armenia to Ucom last month. In a statement dated 6 May, VEON’s Corporate Communications Director Kieran Toohey confirmed: ‘VEON Ltd, a leading global provider of communications and Internet services, has withdrawn from negotiations with Ucom regarding a possible transaction involving its operating company in Armenia, which was previously disclosed on 15 January 2020’. No reason was given for the decision.

Then, on 13 May 2020, Team LLC applied to the PSRC for a licence to operate a public electronic telecommunications network in Armenia, as well as to the Television and Radio Commission to obtain cable TV and radio broadcast licences under its new name, Team.

Armenia, Team LLC (Team.Telecom Armenia), Team Telecom Armenia (formerly Beeline), Ucom