TeliaSonera and Alfa Group agree to merge holdings

12 Nov 2009

Swedish telecoms group TeliaSonera and Russia’s Alfa Group have agreed to combine their holdings in mutual interests Turkcell and MegaFon, the Financial Times reports. The holdings will be combined in a new company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with the two sides sharing similar ownership and equal influence over the entity. ‘I am very pleased that we have reached an agreement with Altimo [the telecoms arm of Alfa] to combine our efforts in resolving the legal disputes, which have been going on far too long,’ said Lars Nyberg, chief executive of TeliaSonera. The two companies have been involved in a legal battle over their respective stakes in Turkcell since 2005, when Turkcell shareholder Cukurova Holding reneged on an exclusivity agreement with the Swedish firm to sell shares to Alfa. TeliaSonera owns 43.8% of MegaFon, the third largest Russian mobile operator, and 37.3% of Turkcell, Turkey’s largest mobile group. Meanwhile, Alfa owns 25.1% of MegaFon through Altimo, and 4.99% of Turkcell via an 18.5% stake in Cukurova Holding. As reported by CommsUpdate on 2 November, Alexei Reznikovich, chief executive of Altimo had previously announced that the company planned to merge the assets. Alfa had followed a similar tactic to conclude an ongoing legal conflict with Norwegian group Telenor over the operation of mutual investments in Russia and the Ukraine, eventually agreeing to merge their holdings into a USD23 billion telecoms firm.

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