VimpelCom Scales Back Orascom Telecom Merger Terms

by: Emerging Money

VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP) may get its board of directors to approve a slightly less generous proposal to buy the frontier markets telecom assets of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom (OTC:ORSTF) holdings.

VIP will now pay only $1.5 billion in cash for ORSTF.PK and its wireless networks spread around the Mediterranean and across South Asia and make up the $300 million shortfall in the $6.8 billion deal with preferred stock.

However, that much voting stock would also give ORSTF.PK owner Naguib Sawiris 31% of the proxies in the combined company — more than current major shareholder, Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY), which has once again voted against the proposal.

Unfortunately for TELNY.PK, it only has 25% of the votes and three of the nine seats on VIP’s board, which means it still lost the weekend vote on the revised merger plan by 6 votes to 3. Once again, minority shareholders got dragged around like rag dolls.

Even though the merger would theoretically be positive for VIP on a strategic level, the prospect of more infighting between TELNY.PK and its partner, Russian investment firm Altimo, would at least negate the upside.

Tension between the two entities kept the stock spinning its wheels for years and eventually forced its recent confusing share reorganization in an attempt to create peace.

Disclosure: No positions