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.
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)
Mon, Sep. 12, 3:00 PM
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.
Tue, Sep. 6, 9:58 AM
- VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP) is off 1.4% in its first U.S. trading after it accepted the resignation of the CEO of its Russian unit, Mikhail Slobodin, amid a bribery investigation by local authorities.
- Russia's Investigative Committee tied Slobodin to a probe of his former employer T Plus, which he used to lead, connected with suspicious payments of more than 800M rubles.
- VimpelCom has named Kjell Johnsen to replace Slobodin.
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.
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.
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. 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, Aug. 10, 7:17 PM
- VimpelCom (VIP -1.1%) has added some digital heft to its Supervisory Board as part of two new additions set during its annual general meeting.
- The company elected Stan Chudnovsky -- head of product for Messaging at Facebook -- and Jørn Jensen, former deputy CEO and group CFO at Carlsberg.
- Also elected to the board were Mikhail Fridman, Gennady Gazin, Andrei Gusev, Gunnar Holt, Sir Julian Horn-Smith, Nils Katla, and Alexey Reznikovich.
- Chudnovsky was previously VP of Growth, Global Strategy and Special Operations at PayPal and has co-founded a number of Internet companies.
Thu, Aug. 4, 3:52 AM
Wed, Jul. 20, 1:46 PM
- Takilant Ltd. -- the company with ties to the daughter of Uzbekistan's president -- has been ordered to pay $135M by a Dutch court that found it guilty of accepting bribes from VimpelCom (VIP -2%) and Telia (OTCPK:TLSNY -4.1%).
- That's the latest in a lengthy probe of telecoms that were charged with paying Takilant in exchange for spectrum and business opportunities in Uzbekistan. The company is linked to Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov.
- The probes in various countries led to VimpelCom agreeing to pay $795M in settlements.
- Takilant was found guilty of bribery and forgery but escaped charges of money-laundering as there was no evidence the telecoms' money came from criminal activity.
- Telia is still under investigation by Dutch prosecutors.
Tue, Jul. 19, 11:19 AM
- VimpelCom (VIP +0.7%) -- which has been subject to governmental probes in the past year over dealings in Uzbekistan -- is shoring up its compliance bona fides with new hires.
- The company has named Dan Chapman its group chief compliance officer, and tapped Enrique Aznar (who's been working on global compliance at VimpelCom for three years) as its newly created chief values and culture transformation officer.
- "Dan will focus on the next phase of our Group's Compliance development, building out a robust compliance framework," says General Counsel Scott Dresser.
- Chapman, who has recently acted in chief compliance roles for Cameron International, Parker Drilling and Baker Hughes, has also served as vice chairman of the American Bar Association's Committee on International Anti-Corruption.
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.