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Vimpelcom CEO losing patience with Telenor – paper

Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom will not be able to keep its $6 billion purchase of assets from Wind Telecom on track for much longer in the face of Telenor's opposition-says CEO.


February 2, 2011 12:03 by

Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom  will not be able to keep its $6 billion purchase of assets from Wind Telecom on track for much longer in the face of Telenor’s opposition, Vimpelcom’s CEO told a newspaper.

Telenor , a strategic shareholder in Vimpelcom, has said it was taking the company to arbitration over the Wind purchase which the Norwegian group says illegally strips its pre-emptive rights to buy shares.

“Patience is starting to end,” Vimpelcom chief executive Alexander Izosimov told Norwegian daily Dagens Naeringlsiv in its Wednesday edition.

“I was hired as Vimpelcom’s top boss with a mandate to grow the company further through mergers and acquisitions and there are few M&A opportunities in the market of this calibre.”

Izosimov said Telenor’s stance did not make much sense other than by seeking to delay the transaction. Vimpelcom’s other big shareholder, Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group, said the Wind deal has a June deadline.

“What is Telenor going to use its (pre-emptive) rights for? I do not understand why Telenor will throw good money after bad if they believe that the acquisition is such a bad idea.”

Telenor has long said the Wind deal, which gives Vimpelcom control of Orascom Telecom  and Wind Italy, made no sense either financially or strategically for Vimpelcom.

(Reporting by Wojciech Moskwa; Editing by Dan Lalor)


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