VimpelCom and Megafon take equal share in Russian retailer

International operator VimpelCom and Russian operator Megafon have taken joint ownership of Russian handset retailer Euroset.

Through its fully-owned Russian subsidiary, Vimpelcom has increased its stake in the retailer by 0.1 per cent to now own 50 per cent of the firm.  The other 50 per cent has been acquired for $1.07bn by Lefbord Investments Limited, a company owned by MegaFon and Garsdale Services Investment.

After one year, MegaFon will buy Garsdale Services’ stake and gain full control over the firm’s 50 per cent stake. As a result of these transactions, VimpelCom and Lefbord have equal economic and governance rights in Euroset.  Previously, VimpelCom had a minority interest in Euroset with more limited governance rights.

“Euroset is a strategic partner for VimpelCom and a major distribution and customer service channel,” said Anton Kudryashov, CEO of VimpelCom’s Russian operation.

“This transaction is the next step in the process of building a more efficient and sustainable operational model between VimpelCom and the largest telecom retailer in Russia, which will help us to provide better service to our customers.”

MegFon began trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) earlier this week,  raising $1.7bn in its IPO, the largest new capital raised by a telecommunications company in London since Orange in 2001.

Meanwhile, the Russian government withdrew legal claims against Norwegian operator group Telenor, signaling an end to the long-running dispute over the ownership of VimpelCom. The move allows Vimpelcom to distribute dividends to investors including Russian  conglomerate Altimo.

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