VimpelCom Shareholder Feud Results In $5bn Acquisition (VIP)

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Russia's second largest mobile carrier VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP) announced that it made an offer to Telenor and Altimo (subsidiary of Alfa Group) to acquire Ukranian carrier Kyivstar for $5 billion in VimpleCom Shares. Kyivstar currently has approximately 14.4 million subscribers.

Note the family tree: Telenor owns 29.9% of VimpelCom and 56.5% of Kyivstar; Alfa Group owns 25% of the VimpelCom and 43.5% of Kyivstar. According to RIA Novisti the Ukraine was the source of feuding within the family:

The conflict between Telenor and Alfa-Group erupted over VimpelCom's plans to enter the Ukrainian cell phone market. In particular, Alfa-Group deems it a priority for VimpelCom to merge with Kyivstar. However, Telenor is against the deal, saying the potential merger will reduce its stake below a controlling interest in the company.

As an alternative for VimpelCom's operations on the Ukrainian market, Alfa-Group proposed purchasing the Ukrainian Radio Systems, another cell phone operator. But this deal also does not meet the interests of Telenor, which does not want to see a rival on the Ukrainian market.

At an extraordinary meeting on September 14, 2005, VimpelCom shareholders possessing 79.83% of the company's stock approved a deal to purchase Ukrainian Radio Systems. But Telenor representatives sent a letter to the company's management saying that more than 80% of the votes were required to approve the decision.

VimpelCom with its Beeline brand is on a buying spree: one month ago it announced its intent to acquire two Uzbeq carriers, and at the end of December announced that it would acquire 60% of Tacom, a cellular operator in Tajikistan.