Telenor filed a claim with the courts in Bermuda requesting confirmation that its February purchase of shares in Russian operator VimpelCom did not trigger a mandatory bid requirement, following a recent complaint from co-shareholder Altimo.
Earlier this month, Altimo said that Telenor and third shareholder Weather II had breached the company’s bylaws by the deal, which saw Telenor buying shares from Weather – which should have triggered a tender offer. It also alleges that Telenor and Weather “formed a ‘group’ holding more than 50 percent voting interest in VimpelCom.”
Telenor spokesman Dag Melgaard said: “VimpelCom is a Bermuda company. The issue of whether Telenor and Weather Investments have an obligation under VimpelCom’s bylaws to make a mandatory tender offer is a question of law for determination by a Bermuda court.”
The Telenor/Weather deal came about after a long-running dispute about the ownership of VimpelCom following its combination with Wind Telecom, of which Weather was the parent. The deal was said to reinstate Telenor’s shareholding to its previous level, and end an arbitration process between the companies.