Mon, Sep. 26, 1:41 PM
- VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP) is in a better position now that Norwegian telecom Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY -2%) has begun selling off its piece of the company, says Russian billionaire (and VimpelCom co-owner) Mikhail Fridman.
- After pursuing a way to get out from its stake for months, Telenor started selling its stake (then 33% of VimpelCom) a couple of weeks ago.
- Telenor's ownership created an "abnormal" situation in some markets, Fridman says, with board meetings where "half of the members would usually leave the room because they had a conflict of interest."
- VimpelCom isn't looking at geographic expansion now, he says, but rather focusing on changing its business model from a low-margin infrastructure play to offering integrated services with content providers, including Uber Technologies.
- VimpelCom shares are off 9% since Telenor's sale began earlier this month.
Fri, Sep. 16, 9:18 AM
- VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP) is down 5% premarket on solid volume after it announced pricing for the sale of a stake by Norwegian telecom Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY).
- The 142.5M ADS -- 8.1% of the company -- will sell at $3.50 each. VimpelCom ADS closed U.S. trading yesterday at $3.63; they're quoted at $3.45 premarket today.
- Telenor has been discussing getting out of its stake in VimpelCom for a year, with various hurdles to such a sale.
- Underwriters have a 30-day option from Telenor to buy up to 21.375M additional ADS at that offering price. VimpelCom won't receive any proceeds.
Thu, Sep. 15, 11:47 AM
- Norwegian telecom Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY -1.5%) is considering strategic options for its $4.6B stake in Malaysia's Digi.com, Bloomberg reports.
- Those might include a sale of those holdings if it can't find an Asian partner for a joint venture, sources told Bloomberg.
- Telenor holds 49% of Digi, the No. 3 mobile service operator in Malaysia with about 12.3M subscribers. Digi's revenue dropped 4% in Q2 amid heavy competition in the country, as customers' average monthly bills fell about 6%.
- Telenor's moves to finally unload a stake in VimpelCom (VIP +5.1%) could help with plans to expand in Asia. Its current stake in Digi is down from a 61% stake it held prior to 2008.
Mon, Sep. 12, 10:17 AM
- Norwegian telecom Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY -1.7%) has put about 8.1% of VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP) up for sale, offering 142.5M of the American Depositary Shares.
- At Friday's closing price that represents just over $555M. VimpelCom wouldn't receive any proceeds.
- VimpelCom has tumbled 6.3% and more than 1M shares have traded hands, already surpassing its daily average.
- The block for sale is just under a quarter of Telnor's holdings in VimpelCom, as the Norwegian firm has found difficulty in unloading a stake it's been trying to get out from under since last October. One challenge is that the only other obvious buyer is Mikhail Fridman, with whom Telenor has been in open conflict.
- Before pricing this offering, Telenor may launch up to $1B worth of a three-year bond exchangeable into VimpelCom ADS, outside the U.S.
- Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan will act as joint global coordinators, with Citigroup and Credit Suisse along as joint bookrunners as well.
Mon, Aug. 22, 3:10 PM
- Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY) has its eyes on growth, setting up a business unit to move into mobile advertising in Asia as it and other operators face slowdowns in traditional telecom business.
- Mobile ads are growing quickly, particularly in developing markets. "A lot of digital players are coming in and taking parts of the value chain," CEO Sigve Brekke told Reuters. "It's a very demanding situation for mobile players right now and we are forced to make a decision on what we want to do going forward."
- A $360M acquisition of start-up Tapad will form a foundation for the new business.
- While mature markets make up the bulk of mobile ad spending, developing markets make up most of the growth, and mobile ad markets in Asia are at least doubling in size every year, eMarketer says.
- The Swedish carrier has more than 211M subscribers across Asia, Scandinavia and southeastern Europe, with more than 90% of those in the company's six Asian markets.
Thu, Aug. 18, 2:27 PM
- Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY +1.9%) is still working out how to divest a $2.5B stake in VimpelCom (VIP +0.7%), a move it planned last October amid multiple government probes into bribery at VimpelCom.
- But a key problem is that the only other obvious buyer is Mikhail Fridman and his LetterOne, with whom Telenor has been in open conflict over control of VimpelCom.
- "We have hired financial advisers that are helping us to plan how our exit will happen but we don't know what the structure will look like. We are in a planning phase," says Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke.
- Telenor lost its chairman last fall as part of the VimpelCom fallout, and the company cut ties with its ex-CEO, who had been working as a consultant.
- VimpelCom agreed to a $795M settlement of a U.S. and Dutch probe over its dealings in Uzbekistan.
Wed, Jul. 6, 6:50 PM
- A report says Vodafone (VOD -1.5%) is the likely front-runner to take over Telenor's (OTCPK:TELNY +1.9%) operations in India, though it's not clear whether that means just a spectrum acquisition or the entire company.
- Telenor is currently using 1800 MHz airwaves to provide 2G, though they could provide 4G service, and that spectrum is likely valued around $1B.
- Such an acquisition could reap benefits for Vodafone ahead of India's 4G spectrum auction, set for September. Telenor's tower rentals from Viom come at a lower rate than Vodafone has gotten from Indus, and Telenor's 11,500 sites could power Vodafone's 4G deployment, a source says.
Mon, May 2, 8:20 PM
- Norway's Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY) says it may have to get out of India if it can't get better rates for spectrum.
- The company had planned to launch LTE service in five to eight cities, but CEO Sigve Brekke said the company needed more spectrum to roll out wider 4G offerings.
- “Long term presence in India is dependent on our ability to secure additional spectrum," Brekke says now. "We are not able to compete with current spectrum portfolio we have in a growing data market."
- Telenor had 42M mobile subscribers in India at the end of March.
- “We are in India to make money," said CFO Morten Karlsen Sorby. "If we don’t see return then we need to look at other alternatives."
- Now read Can Emerging Markets Deliver On Their Growth Promise? »
Wed, Feb. 17, 7:52 PM
- Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY +4.7%) -- one of a few companies ensnared in the Uzbekistan corruption scandal -- says it is closely following news of VimpelCom's (VIP +12.5%) reported settlement in the deal, and acknowledgment that it broke U.S. and Dutch laws.
- "Corruption is unacceptable, and Telenor takes it very seriously that VimpelCom now seems to acknowledge certain violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and relevant Dutch Laws," the Norwegian telecom said in a statement.
- Telenor had cut ties via a consulting arrangement with its ex-CEO, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, and suspended its CFO and general counsel as the scandal developed.
- It had owned a third of VimpelCom before saying in October that it would divest the multibillion-dollar stake and take a related $900M impairment.
- Previously: VimpelCom up 6.2% on word it's settling Uzbek probes (Feb. 17 2016)
Wed, Feb. 10, 6:46 AM
- Telenor ASA ADR (OTCPK:TELNY): Q4 EPS of -NOK1.42.
- Revenue of NOK33.49B (+10.0% Y/Y).
Fri, Jan. 22, 10:48 AM
- Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY +3.7%) and TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +3%) are moving into the second phase of Norway's 1800 MHz spectrum auction later this month.
- The two came out as winners in the first phase, which lasted 83 rounds and drew 877.98M krone (about $103.3M). Now they'll have until next Thursday to submit bids for specific locations in the band. Telenor had secured 20 megahertz while TeliaSonera secured 5 megahertz.
- TeliaSonera (which operates in Norway under the NetCom brand) and Telenor launched LTE services in the country in 2012, and offer them through the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands.
- Previously: TeliaSonera, Ericsson working on 5G testbed for Sweden, Estonia by 2018 (Jan. 22 2016)
Thu, Jan. 21, 10:19 AM
- Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY +0.9%) has launched its Voice over LTE service in Norway, promising better call quality and better indoor coverage, particularly in glass-heavy buildings such as offices.
- Connection time will fall to 2-3 seconds per call from 7-10 seconds, the company says, and customers will be able to use data services while they talk.
- It's calling its service 4G Tale, and supported smartphones from Sony and Samsung will switch to VoLTE automatically. Apple iPhones will become VoLTE compliant this year, while the Samsung S5 Neo will get the new service along with an upgrade to Android Marshmallow.
Nov. 25, 2015, 6:55 PM
- While VimpelCom (VIP +6.8%) got a boost today on news that it may be close to settling with the U.S. in an Uzbekistan corruption probe, TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +2.2%) may be facing a bigger headache as the U.S. looks to extend the probe into other markets, according to Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.
- Danske Bank analysts think the company could now be facing compensation claims of 15B kronor ($1.72B), triple what they had expected before.
- The probe is reportedly widening to TeliaSonera's activities in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and even Nepal.
- Other companies besides VimpelCom and TeliaSonera -- Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) and Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY) -- are linked to dealings with Takilant, the company tied to Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov.
Nov. 11, 2015, 1:56 PM
- Fallout over VimpelCom's dealings in Uzbekistan is spreading at Norway's Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY), which has now suspended its chief financial officer and general counsel.
- "As a result of Telenor Group's previously announced external review by Deloitte of the group's handling and oversight of its minority ownership in VimpelCom Ltd, Telenor has today temporarily relieved CFO Richard Olav Aa and General Counsel Paal Wien Espen of their responsibilities," the company said in a statement.
- Telenor, majority-owned by the Norwegian state, had previously pushed out its chairman and cut consulting ties with its ex-CEO in the probe, which is looking at Telenor's links to possible corruption charges related to acquiring wireless airwaves in Uzbekistan. Telenor has owned a third of VimpelCom (VIP -2.2%).
- Police in four countries are investigating the affair. Telenor says it has no reason to believe the suspended execs were involved in the corruption.
- Previously: Telenor cuts ties to ex-CEO amid VimpelCom probe (Nov. 09 2015)
- Previously: Telenor hires law firm to investigate its ties to VimpelCom, Uzbekistan (Nov. 02 2015)
- Previously: Norway ousts Telenor chairman over VimpelCom probe (Oct. 30 2015)
Nov. 9, 2015, 3:43 PM
- Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY -0.9%) has terminated a consulting arrangement it had with former CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas, in more fallout from the Norwegian carrier's holdings in VimpelCom (VIP -5.7%), currently under investigation over corruption in Uzbekistan.
- Baksaas was formerly a board member at VimpelCom. Telenor has been pursuing divestiture of a one-third stake in VimpelCom, and hired a law firm to sort out its ties to the affair. VimpelCom's under investigation in the Netherlands and the U.S. over possible improper payments related to spectrum acquisition in the Uzbek market.
- The termination with Baksaas was a mutual agreement and Baksaas will refrain from a bonus payment for 2015, Telenor said.
- Previously: Former VimpelCom CEO Lunder in custody amid Uzbek corruption probe (Nov. 05 2015)
- Previously: VimpelCom making $900M provision amid Uzbekistan probes (Nov. 03 2015)
- Previously: Telenor hires law firm to investigate its ties to VimpelCom, Uzbekistan (Nov. 02 2015)
Nov. 5, 2015, 12:08 PM
- Jo Lunder, the ex-CEO of VimpelCom (VIP +4.7%), is being held by Norwegian police in connection with the corruption probe into the company's dealings in Uzbekistan.
- U.S. and Dutch authorities started an investigation into companies that were suspected of steering business to Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the country's president, in return for rights to wireless airwaves. Norwegian authorities say they are assisting the Dutch investigation.
- Lunder, currently CEO of the Fredriksen Group, hasn't been charged but is held "on suspicion of gross corruption."
- The case has brought turmoil to Norway's state-owned Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY +0.7%), which has hired a law firm to investigate its ties to the case. Telenor owns a third of VimpelCom, and its chairman was forced out over the issue.
- VimpelCom has said it would make a $900M provision in its Q3 statements tied to the probes.