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  • 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.
    | Fri, Sep. 16, 9:18 AM | 2 Comments
  • 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, 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.
    | Thu, Sep. 15, 11:47 AM
  • Wed, Sep. 14, 3:59 PM
    • New Italian wireless partners CK Hutchison (OTCPK:CKHUY +1.3%) and VimpelCom (VIP -1.9%) have a buy-sell option in their joint venture, starting three years after the conclusion of a deal merging their in-country divisions.
    • The two agreed to combine Three Italia and Wind Telecomunicazioni after lengthy negotiations, in order to better compete with Telecom Italia and Vodafone. A market entry from Iliad will return the market to four players.
    • A slide in a VimpelCom presentation notes the mechanism available to the parties, reportedly there in case of a deadlock on decisions.
    • The merger is set to complete in Q4.
    • Previously: Iliad's aggressive Italy plan 'does not worry' Telecom Italia (Sep. 14 2016)
    | Wed, Sep. 14, 3:59 PM
  • Thu, Sep. 1, 7:22 AM
    • EU antitrust regulators have approved CK Hutchison's (OTCPK:CKHUY) plan to merge its Italian mobile unit with that of Vimpelcom (NYSE:VIP).
    • "We can approve the deal because Hutchison and Vimpelcom have offered a strong remedy that enables a new mobile network operator, Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY), to enter the Italian market," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
    | Thu, Sep. 1, 7:22 AM
  • Tue, Aug. 30, 1:18 PM
    • The merger between Italian wireless carriers Wind Telecomunicazioni (VIP -0.7%) and Three Italia (OTCPK:HUWHY) is set to go forward after a decision by the EC due Sept. 8.
    • According to a CTFN source, divestments to French low-cost carrier Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY) -- whose market entry is a condition for the deal -- will include a balanced set of 2x35 MHz frequencies across 3G and 4G: 2x5MHz at 900MHz, 2x10MHz at 1800MHz, 2x10MHz at 2100MHz and 2x10MHz at 2600MHz for €450M to be paid over the next three years.
    • The entire deal is said to be €800M, though, and includes Iliad committing to acquiring "several thousand" macro sites in dense areas along with a rural sharing/acquisition agreement, and a five-year roaming agreement at minimum.
    • Wind and Three will also reportedly transfer 40 engineers to Iliad to help set up operations.
    | Tue, Aug. 30, 1:18 PM
  • Thu, Aug. 25, 10:48 AM
    • VimpelCom (VIP +0.2%) and Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) are set to get EU approval of a long-in-the-works Italy operation merger as soon as next week, Bloomberg reports.
    • The two have pressed to combine their Wind Telecomunicazioni and Three Italia into Italy's largest wireless carrier via an $8.9B transaction, but have been pursuing that deal against the backdrop of a European Commission taking a hard line on competition. The EC blocked Hutchison's attempt to merge its Three UK with O2.
    • But a revised plan from the two hopefuls included sales of spectrum, sites and services, and allowing France's Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY) to enter the Italian market as a new competitor.
    • Approval would affect the stock of current market leader Telecom Italia (TI +1.1%), which tumbled last month when VimpelCom and Hutchison submitted new merger plans, and of Vodafone (VOD -0.6%).
    | Thu, Aug. 25, 10:48 AM | 4 Comments
  • 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.
    | Thu, Aug. 18, 2:27 PM
  • Fri, Jul. 8, 1:57 PM
    • European regulators are set to clear a long-in-the-works mobile merger in Italy, Reuters reports.
    • The European Commission -- lately prone to blocking telecom consolidation on the continent -- is ready to sign off on a €21.8B combination of Three Italia, owned by Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY), with Wind Telecomunicazioni, owned by VimpelCom (VIP +1.7%).
    • Hutchison saw a similar deal blocked by the EC, to merge its Three UK unit with Telefonica's O2.
    • The move would make the combo the biggest wireless provider in Italy, competing against Vodafone (VOD +1.3%) and Telecom Italia (TI +2.3%), though Hutchison and VimpelCom agreed to concessions and asset sales to help create a new entrant in France's low-cost provider Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY -4.2%).
    • The EC is scheduled to officially rule on the case by Sept. 8.
    | Fri, Jul. 8, 1:57 PM | 1 Comment
  • Wed, Jul. 6, 1:56 PM
    • Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) and VimpelCom (VIP +0.3%) -- trying to merge their Italian units Three Italia and Wind Telecomunicazioni -- have submitted a new concession plan to European regulators in the wake of a new entrant to the Italian market.
    • The two have worked against tough odds for months to merge the units into Italy's biggest wireless provider, but their agreement to sell spectrum, sites and services to enable France's Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY) to enter the market have likely changed the game.
    • European regulators have taken a tougher approach to telecom consolidation under Margrethe Vestager. Regulators vetoed Hutchison's bid for O2 in the UK in May, and last year Sweden's TeliaSonera and Norway's Telenor called off a merger of their Danish operations after EC opposition.
    • Facing the increased likelihood that it will be displaced as Italy's largest wireless carrier, Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) is now down 8.8% in U.S. trading. It closed down 10.8% in Milan.
    | Wed, Jul. 6, 1:56 PM
  • Tue, Jul. 5, 4:22 AM
    • Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY) is reportedly in exclusive talks with Hutchison (OTCPK:CKHUY) and Vimpelcom (NASDAQ:VIP) to buy wireless assets in Italy, marking founder Xavier Niel's third attempt to expand his business outside of France.
    • A deal would create a fourth mobile operator in the country and pave the way for CK Hutchison and Vimpelcom to merge their 3 Italia and Wind units.
    • An EU antitrust decision could come by the end of the week.
    | Tue, Jul. 5, 4:22 AM
  • Fri, Jul. 1, 5:39 PM
    • VimpelCom (VIP -1.8%), its unit Global Telecom Holding, and Dhabi Group shareholders say they have wrapped the transaction to merge VimpelCom's Mobilink (Pakistan Mobile Communications Limited) and Warid Telecom into Pakistan's leading provider.
    • The players had announced a deal to combine the businesses last November; it's received regulatory approval from relevant parties, and Mobilink has acquired 100% of Warid's shares, while Dhabi Group shareholders have acquired 15% of Mobilink's shares.
    • Aamir Ibrahim will take over as CEO of the new combination from Jeffrey Hedberg.
    • The transaction is expected to create capex and opex synergies with net present value of about $500M, with an annual run rate north of $100M in free cash flow improvements by year three, VimpelCom says.
    | Fri, Jul. 1, 5:39 PM
  • Thu, May 12, 3:07 PM
    | Thu, May 12, 3:07 PM
  • Thu, Apr. 21, 3:49 PM
    • VimpelCom (VIP -1.7%) and Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) have an extension to finish a slowgoing merger of their Italian operations, to Aug. 18.
    • The companies asked for more time to combine Wind Telecomunicazioni (VimpelCom's unit) and Three Italia (Hutchison's).
    • The combo, which would merge the No. 3 and No. 4 mobile operators in Italy, s getting a hard look from European competition regulators.
    • Meanwhile, VimpelCom priced $1.2B in bonds in two tranches -- $500M in 6.25% senior notes due 2020, and $700M in 7.25% senior notes due 2023.
    • That offering should settle on Tuesday; proceeds will be used for general purposes.
    • Now read Russian Telecoms: Perspectives And Ideas For 2016 »
    | Thu, Apr. 21, 3:49 PM
  • Thu, Apr. 7, 2:54 PM
    • The long-in-the-making merger of Italy's No. 3 and No. 4 mobile operators is getting a hard look for antitrust concerns at the European Commission, CTFN says.
    • Wind Telecomunicazioni -- the Italian unit of Vimpelcom (VIP -3%) -- and Hutchison's (OTCPK:HUWHY) Three Italia submitted remedies to the EC, but beyond that a source says the commission will make sure there's a third party who's interested in acquiring divested frequencies.
    • Failing that, the combo could be blocked. The EC had opened a full probe into the tie-up last week after rebuffing an effort from Italy's government to take over the review.
    • The EC is concerned about "higher prices, less choice and reduced innovation for mobile customers in Italy."
    • Now read Russian Telecoms: Perspectives And Ideas For 2016 »
    | Thu, Apr. 7, 2:54 PM
  • Wed, Mar. 30, 4:46 PM
    • The European Commission has opened an in-depth probe into the deal to merge Italian operations between Hutchision (OTCPK:HUWHY) and VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP), with a focus on the effect it will have on consumer prices.
    • The long-discussed combination of Hutchison's Three Italia with VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni "could lead to higher prices, less choice and reduced innovation for mobile customers in Italy," the EC says.
    • The two companies will cooperate with the investigation into a deal that would reduce Italy's market to three players and create its biggest mobile carrier by subscriber numbers.
    • The news follows a stronger line by the EC on Hutchison's plan for its takeover of O2 in the UK as well. The EC will take 90 days to examine the Three-Wind deal, with an Aug. 10 deadline to decide on the deal.
    • Previously: EC reportedly reviewing remedies to enable Italy telecom merger (Mar. 22 2016)
    • Previously: Italian regulators ask EC to transfer review of €21.8B telecom merger (Feb. 26 2016)
    | Wed, Mar. 30, 4:46 PM
  • Tue, Mar. 22, 12:03 PM
    • The European Commission is reviewing remedies proposed by VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) and Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY) to enable their long-awaited merger of Italy operations, CTFN reports.
    • The companies' Italian units -- VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni and Hutchison's Three Italia -- agreed to a 50-50 combination in a €21.8B deal last August after lengthy talks. The combination would surpass Telecom Italia's TIM and Vodafone in total customers.
    • The EC was set to issue a preliminary decision earlier this month but extended its deadline to March 30 as it discusses commitments from the carriers, including frequency divestment, to make the deal happen.
    • No price controls are likely to come in at an end-user level, a source tells CTFN, but some restrictions may come at the wholesale level -- welcome news for the country's MVNOs, which buy and re-sell service.
    | Tue, Mar. 22, 12:03 PM