Norwegian mobile operator Telenor has hired investment Bank JPMorgan Chase&Co. for sale of 33% stake in VimpelCom for $2.06 billion, reported Bloomberg, citing its own sources. Telenor is negotiating with potential buyers, including Russian investors. The company also does not exclude the possibility to sell part of the shares in the open market, if you don’t find a buyer, told the news Agency.
In turn, the company VimpelCom has hired Bank holding company Morgan Stanley to evaluate their shares and potential buyers, said the interlocutors Bloomberg. But the final decision about the date and structure of the transaction in the present moment. Official representatives Telenor, VimpelCom, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan declined to comment.
The basic owner of holding approximately 56% of the common shares as of almost 48% in the voting — is LetterOne Mikhail Fridman, Herman Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev (they are principal owners “the alpha-Groups”). That Norwegian Telenor intends to sell its stake in VimpelCom, a shareholder of which was more than 15 years, it became known in October 2015. In the message to Telenor then it was noted that the operator has invested in VimpelCom 15 billion Norwegian crowns (at that time — about $1.8 billion, receiving a 20 billion kroner ($2.4 billion) in the form of dividends.
In April 2016 Sigve Brekke CEO of Telenor, said that the company has found potential investors who wants to sell their share of the “soon” and “fair price”. Among the reasons for the sale of the stake Brekke called the inability to influence the operational activities of VimpelCom. After the sale of shares in the holding Norwegians can buy assets in emerging markets — for example, in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, said Brekke.
Along with VimpelCom, MTS and TeliaSonera have become parties associated with the work in the market of Uzbekistan corruption scandal, which the U.S. Department of justice, the U.S. Commission on securities and exchange Commission and the public Prosecutor’s office are investigating from 2014. In February 2016 VimpelCom have agreed to conclude an amicable agreement with U.S. authorities on this case and its terms and paid $795 million
The scandal also led to layoffs in Telenor: two top managers of the company — CFO Richard Olav and legal Director Paul Wien Espen – resigned. In the review of the auditing company Deloitte stated that Telenor staff are not directly involved in corrupt practices or other illegal activities. But the auditors identified deficiencies “organizational structure, communications and management experience in the Norwegian company.