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Telenor agrees to Golden Telecom sale

06 февраля 2008

Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom takes first step towards acquiring domestic broadband provider. Telenor Tuesday announced it has agreed to tender its 18.3% stake in Russian fixed-line operator Golden Telecom to Vimpelcom.

The Norwegian operator said in a statement it stands to receive $773.8 million for its shares.

Telenor agrees to Golden Telecom sale Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom, in which Telenor holds a 33.6% stake, aims to acquire 100% of the fixed-line firm, thereby giving it a foothold in the country's growing broadband sector. The move would give Telenor an indirect stake in Golden Telecom.

If successful, Vimpelcom's $4.3 billion bid to acquire U.S.-listed Golden Telecom will be the second-largest international acquisition made by a Russian company to date, and the largest outside the energy and natural resources sector, Telenor said in a statement.

"We have today tendered all our shares in Golden Telecom… We are proud to be a part of this major transaction in the new economy in Russia," said Jan Edvard Thygesen, executive vice president and head of Telenor's CEE operations.

After months of speculation, Vimpelcom finally offered $105 per share for Golden Telecom in December last year. Telenor is the first of the telco's shareholders to respond to the bid.

It initially emerged in July that Vimpelcom was eyeing a 44% stake in Golden Telecom as it looked to establish new lines of business.

However, there was concern at the time whether a long-running and bitter spat between Telenor and Russia's Altimo – which both hold shares in both Vimpelcom and Golden Telecom - would jeopardise a possible deal. The pair came to blows over Vimpelcom's expansion into the Ukrainian telecoms market through its purchase of Kyivstar.

Vimpelcom CEO Alexander Izosimov last week said he expects the purchase of Golden Telecom to generate synergies of $474 million over the next three years.

He said that 50% of the cost savings will be made in capital expenditure, and the other 50% in operating costs.

Источник: Total Telecom

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