Telenor Group, in a latest development, has bought 234,000,000 VimpelCom preferred shares from Weather Investments for US$374,400,000, to increase its voting rights at VimpelCom from 25.01 percent to 36.36 percent and to become majority stake holder in VimpelCom, said a statement issued by the Telenor Group.
Just to recall, Mr. Naguib Sawiris and his family last year bought 29.63 percent stakes in VimpelCom through Weather Investments in exchange of Orascom Telecom.
Weather’s shares in VimpelCom, after this transaction, will come down to 18.28 percent.
In connection with this new buyout of shares, Telenor has withdrawn all its claims against Altimo Holdings & Investments Ltd., Altimo Cooperatief U.A. and VimpelCom in the pending arbitration proceeding, and will work to expand the VimpelCom Board to eleven members.
Check below the previous and present voting rights of various groups in VimpelCom:
It merits mentioning here that Mobilink is currently fully managed by VimpelCom, which is now majorly owned by Telenor Group, also the parent group of Telenor Pakistan, creating a potential situation for conflict of interest in Pakistan and Bangladeshi markets.
To put in simpler words, 5 out of 11 directors at VimpelCom board (who directly manages Mobilink) come from Telenor International, a group that also controls Telenor Pakistan.
This translates into a proposition according to which Mobilink and Telenor Pakistan will be owned by same group (Telenor International) at a parent group level.
The outcome can potentially form a cartel in Pakistan which may not be favorable for competitors such as Ufone, Warid Telecom and CMPak.
In a related news, Telenor wants to drop its Indian joint-venture partner Unitech after the Supreme Court revoked their mobile licences in the country and is seeking a new local partner. Telenor said it would seek indemnity and compensation from Unitech.
And Unitech has replied by threatening counter legal action.