Sunday, October 4, 2009

Telenor Ends Altimo Russia Feud With VimpelCom, Kyivstar Merger

. Sunday, October 4, 2009

By stockOzone team

Telenor ASA, the biggest Nordic phone company, will merge its stakes in OAO VimpelCom and ZAT Kyivstar with those of Russia’s Altimo, ending a dispute over control of Russia’s second-largest mobile company.

The deal will create a new company, VimpelCom Ltd., headquartered in the Netherlands, Telenor and Altimo said in a statement today. The companies will suspend ongoing legal proceedings and withdraw or settle them before the transaction is concluded, they said.

Telenor has been locked in disputes over control of VimpelCom and Kyivstar, including a Siberian case that resulted in a $1.7 billion fine for Telenor. A Moscow bailiff arrested the Fornebu, Norway-based company’s shares in VimpelCom in March. The Siberian case was brought by Farimex Products Inc., the Russian owner of 0.002 percent of VimpelCom. Altimo has denied any link to Farimex.

“We are pleased to announce an agreement that will enable us to focus completely on the long-term value creation opportunity of the new company and put all previous disagreements behind us,” Telenor Chief Executive Officer Jon Fredrik Baksaas said in the statement.

The new joint venture will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and incorporated in Bermuda for neutrality, the companies said. The companies expect to complete the transaction by mid-2010.

Disclosure: Author does not own any of the stocks discussed here.

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