Russian anti-trust agency blocks Telia, Alfa merger of MegaFon, Turkcell stakes

30 Dec 2010

RIA Novosti reports that Russian anti-monopoly watchdog, the Commission for Foreign Investment, has rejected a deal between Russian firm Altimo (the telecoms arm of conglomerate Alfa) and Nordic telecoms giant TeliaSonera to merge their stakes in Russian mobile operator MegaFon and Turkey’s Turkcell. In November 2009 TeliaSonera and Altimo signed a deal to merge stakes in MegaFon, in which Altimo holds 25.1% and TeliaSonera 43.8%, and Turkey’s leading cellco Turkcell, in which they own 4.99% and 37% respectively. ‘We studied the MegaFon deal for a long time, in particular, TeliaSonera’s request for transformations inside the group. These transformations would have resulted in new offshore companies, to which MegaFon’s shares would have been transferred. This deal was disapproved by the commission,’ said member Igor Artemyev. Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, MegaFon’s third largest shareholder, earlier instituted legal proceedings to block the merger, claiming the deal violated Russia’s rules on foreign investment.

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