Norway’s Telenor is close to an asset swap deal with its Russian investment partner and regular courtroom opponent Alfa Group, which would see Alfa receive a 5% stake in Telenor, according to a source close to the Norwegian telco quoted by Reuters. The proposed deal would also involve Alfa handing over its subsidiary Storm’s entire 43.5% stake in Ukraine’s mobile market leader Kyivstar to Telenor, which would in turn transfer around 12% of its 29.9% voting shares in Russian cellco Vimpelcom to Alfa; Kyivstar is currently majority controlled by Telenor, while Alfa is the dominant shareholder in Vimpelcom, Russia’s second largest wireless operator by subscribers. Vimpelcom also wholly owns Ukrainian GSM operator Ukrainian Radio Systems (URS, operating under the Russian firm’s Beeline brand). The approximately 5% stake in Telenor would be handed to Alfa’s telecoms arm Altimo by the Norwegian government, which currently has a 54% interest in the multinational fixed line, mobile and broadband operator.
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