Telenor starts VimpelCom sale - Mobile World Live

Telenor starts VimpelCom sale

12 SEP 2016

Telenor is to sell part of its VimpelCom stake via a US public offering, but did not detail its intentions for the rest.

The Norwegian company intends to offload a quarter of its stake via the offer. It owns around 33 per cent of VimpelCom, with the planned sale equivalent to around 8.1 per cent of the Netherlands-headquartered group.

Telenor revealed its intention to offload the VimpelCom stake in October last year, in order to focus on its own operations.

Executives from Telenor have also been caught up in probes into VimpelCom’s activities in Uzbekistan – including Jon Fredrik Baksaas, its former CEO.

And its ownership of VimpelCom has not been easy, particularly with regard to its relationship with majority shareholder LetterOne.

The key question is what Telenor will do with its remaining stake, and in a statement today the company said it will be making no further comments “at this point in time”.

But, as reported last month, its options are limited. The obvious buyer is LetterOne, but this leaves Telenor with little negotiation power – and LetterOne has not indicated interest.

In addition, telecoms is seen as strategically important in Russia, limiting the scope for foreign buyers.

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Steve Costello

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