Veon agreed to sell its Russian business to members of the local management team for RUB130 billion ($2.2 billion), the latest international player in the sector to cut ties in the country following an invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions.
The buyer of Russian subsidiary PJSC VimpelCom, which runs local mobile operation Beeline, is a specific acquisition vehicle established by members of the unit’s management led by CEO Aleksander Torbakhov.
Veon noted the deal was subject to regulatory approval and scheduled for completion on or before the start of June 2023. It is the culmination of a process to find a buyer initiated earlier this month.
As part of the agreement, ownership of the group’s majority stake in Kazakhstan business Kar-Tel, which runs its Beeline operation in that country, will transfer from its Russian subsidiary to Veon.
The sale of its Russian operation will have a significant impact on the composition of Veon’s financials, as the business contributed more than half of group revenue in 2021.
Its next largest revenue generators were Pakistan and Ukraine.
“After considering numerous options, I am confident that the agreed sale of Veon’s Russian operations to the VimpelCom management team represents an optimal solution for Veon, its Russian operations and the stakeholders of both companies, including customers, shareholders and creditors, as well as employees both in and outside of Russia,” Veon CEO Kaan Terzioglu said.
He added the company was committed to ensuring the transaction was seamless for staff and customers with no related service disruption.