Telenor has formally taken over Serbian cellco Mobi 063 after making the EUR1.5 billion (USD1.9 billion) payment to the government. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica hailed the arrival of Telenor as proof that the country is now ripe for foreign investment. Stein Erik Vellan, the new president of the mobile operator, said the company will be renamed Telenor in the coming months. Mobi 063 has around 2.1 million subscribers, equivalent to 45% of the market. Originally named Mobtel, the company was founded in 1994 by then-President Slobodan Milosevic’s government and Serbian tycoon Bogoljub Karic. Last year, amid an ownership dispute with the state, Karic sold his stake to the Austrian investors, who then agreed with authorities to reform, rename and jointly sell the company. Karic has since fled the country dodging arrest on charges of fraud and corruption.
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