Altimo proposes resolution for Vimpelcom deal
Altimo proposes an out-of-court arrangement to appease Telenor
Telecoms investment firm Altimo, which owns 44.7% of Russia’s Vimpelcom, has proposed a resolution to the dispute between Vimpelcom and Telenor over the Russian operator’s bid to acquire Wind Telecom.
Telenor, which owns 36% of Vimpelcom and is against the deal to buy Wind, is taking legal action aimed at forcing Vimpelcom to issue it with shares if the acquisition goes ahead. Telenor is demanding shares to protect its pre-emptive voting rights, which it claims are threatened by the current terms of the deal.
However, Altimo said it believed the best solution would be to resolve the outstanding issues "on an urgent basis through an expedited arbitration" with a final decision by 7 March 2011.
“This will be possible if Telenor acts in good faith to agree the expedited process so that this dispute could be settled prior to the planned shareholders meeting. Expedited arbitration is an established and proven practice and would have the benefits of providing both a solution for the issues raised by Telenor, and giving certainty over the terms of the Wind transaction, before 17 March,” Altimo said in a statement.
Altimo and Vimpelcom also said they would guarantee Telenor’s ability to exercise its pre-emptive rights in full in the event that an arbitral tribunal finds in favour of Telenor.
Altimo added that this plan would remove the need for Telenor to insist on issuing common and preferred shares in escrow or demanding that VimpelCom’s shareholders meeting be postponed.
Evgeny Dumalkin, vice president, Altimo, said: “As the supervisory board properly concluded, the Wind transaction is not subject to pre-emptive rights and Telenor has no right to demand the issuance of new shares in VimpelCom.
"Altimo is confident that is will be successful in contesting Telenor’s injunction application. Nonetheless, in the best interests of VimpelCom and all its shareholders we are making these proposals in order to resolve the current impasse and hope that Telenor finds them constructive and will act accordingly."