Vimpelcom to acquire Italy's Wind, Orascom

4th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Norwegian-Russian telecoms firm Vimpelcom on Monday said it signed a deal with Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris to buy all of Italian mobile operator Wind and a majority in Egypt's Orascom Telecom.

The agreement will create the world's fifth largest mobile telecoms carrier by subscribers, with pro forma operating revenues of 21.5 billion dollars, Vimpelcom said in a statement on its website.

"At the closing of the transaction, Vimpelcom Ltd will own 51.7 percent of Orascom and 100 percent of Wind," Vimpelcom said in a statement.

The shares are being acquired from the Weather Investments holding company of Sawiris, one of the richest men in the Middle East who is estimated by US Forbes magazine to have a total fortune of 2.5 billion dollars.

The overall value of the transaction was not disclosed but Russian business daily Vedomosti said it would be worth 6.4 billion dollars.

Vimpelcom said that as part of the transaction, Weather Investments will receive a 20 percent economic stake and a 18.5 percent voting stake in the enlarged Vimpelcom group.

Vimpelcom is a joint venture of Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor and Russian banking group Alfa Group, whose creation was sealed at the end of 2009 after a prolonged squabble between the two groups.

© 2010 AFP

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