Vimpelcom close to acquiring Orascom, Wind: report

4th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian-Norwegian mobile operator Vimpelcom is close to a deal with Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris to buy his stakes in Italian operator Wind and Egypt's Orascom Telecom, Vedomosti daily said Monday.

Vimpelcom's board of directors voted for the first time on Sunday on the deal to purchase 100 percent of Wind and 51 percent of Orascom, Vedomosti said, citing unnamed sources. The assets would be merged into one single company.

In exchange, Sawiris will receive 20 percent in the resulting company and a cash amount. Orascom is one of the largest mobile providers in the Middle East.

The deal is valued at some 6.4 billion dollars and the merger could form the world's fifth largest operator with about 200 million subscribers.

Sawiris officially confirmed in August that he was in talks with Vimpelcom to sell his stakes in the operators, adding that he was also considering other buyers.

The deal would cause Vimpelcom stakeholders, Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor and Russian banking group Alfa Group, to dilute their shares from 36.03 percent and 44.65 percent to 27 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

Sawiris is estimated by US Forbes magazine to have a total fortune of 2.5 billion dollars.

© 2010 AFP

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