Usmanov threatens to derail MegaFon-Turkcell merger

14 Dec 2009

According to a report by Dow Jones Newswires, which cites local business daily Vedomosti, Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov has petitioned the Ministry of IT and Communications (MinSvyaz) in an attempt to get the state to block the proposed merger of Turkcell and MegaFon. Usmanov, whose holding company AF Telecom owns almost a third of MegaFon, asked a legal consultancy to write a letter to MinSvyaz arguing that the combination of Alfa Group and TeliaSonera’s respective stakes in Turkcell and Megafon would break Russia’s law on strategic sectors, since the Swedish and Finnish governments would hold a controlling influence in the new company. As reported by CommsUpdate on 12 November 2009, Alfa and TeliaSonera announced plans to merge the cellcos in an attempt to resolve ongoing legal disputes over the ownership of Turkcell which have persisted since 2005, when Turkcell shareholder Cukurova Holding reneged on an exclusivity agreement with the Swedish firm to sell shares to Alfa.

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