Alfa looking for partners to become global mobile powerhouse; Scandinavian operators need not apply

7 Jul 2005

Russia’s Alfa Group is planning to hold talks with ‘several telecoms companies’ with a view to creating a global mobile phone business consolidated in the West and spanning Turkey, Russia and the former Soviet Union, according to the Financial Times. Alfa chairman Mikhail Fridman told the publication that telecoms was now a priority for the group, which has traditionally concentrated on oil, retail and banking, but also holds minority stakes in Russian mobile groups MegaFon and Vimpelcom. ‘The past few years have shown that the future belongs to global companies such as Vodafone and Orange, and we are much more interested in being a minority investor in a larger multinational company, than remain investors in several national companies,’ Fridman said. Fridman has yet to reveal who Alfa’s target partners are, but TeliaSonera of Sweden – whom the group attempted to trump in a bid for Turkish cellco Turkcell – and Norway’s Telenor – with whom it is at loggerheads over the proposed Ukrainian expansion of Vimpelcom – are unlikely to be top of the list.

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