Vimpelcom in legal action from Telenor over merger

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Vimpelcom said on Monday it had received a notice of arbitration from its Norwegian shareholder Telenor, which opposes the Russian telecoms company's deal to buy Italy's Wind and Egypt's Orascom.

Vimpelcom "received a notice of arbitration from Telenor, in relation to the proposed transaction with Wind Telecom, to enforce its alleged pre-emtive rights under the Vimpelcom shareholders agreement," the company said in a statement.

Vimpelcom also said Telenor had requested the company postpone a shareholders' vote to approve the deal scheduled for March 17.

In October, Vimpelcom said it signed a 6.5-billion-dollar (4.9-billion-euro) deal with Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris' Weather Investments.

The deal included Vimpelcom's acquisition of all of Italian mobile operator Wind and of a majority in Egypt's Orascom Telecom from Weather, which would create an industry giant with 174 million customers.

Telenor, which has three out of nine seats on Vimpelcom's board and holds 39.6 percent of the Russian company's stock, said it did not support the purchase.

© 2011 AFP

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