Telenor abandons VimpelCom injunction bid

Michael Carroll
02 Mar 2011

Telenor has dropped its attempt to secure injunction relief over VimpelCom’s acquisition of Wind Telecom, after securing agreements that protect its stake in the Russian carrier.

Deals with VimpelCom, Altimo and Weather Investments will prevent Telenor’s share in VimpelCom falling below 25%, and preserve the simple working majority it enjoys in conjunction with Altimo, which holds a near matching 39% of VimpelCom.

The Norwegian carrier claims the agreements carry the same weight as an injunction, which it sought early February through London’s Commercial Court to prevent the dilution of its shares through the acquisition.

All three agreed to quickly issue pre-emptive shares and pay damages to Telenor if separate arbitration proceedings find the acquisition triggers the release of the shares.

Telenor’s action was prompted by concerns VimpelCom’s acquisition of Wind parent Weather Investments would result in Wind wielding more voting power in the Russian carrier than its financial stake – 30.6% versus 20%. That would dilute Telenor’s voting rights, which currently stand at 36% from a 39.6% stake in the firm, and the rights of minority shareholders who currently hold a 21% stake.

The Nordic giant threatened action a day after VimpelCom’s board approved the deal in mid-January.

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