TeliaSonera, Alfa fight Russian merger ban

Dylan Bushell-Embling
05 Jul 2010

TeliaSonera and Alfa Group are set to fight opposition from the Russian courts over a merger between their units Megafon and Turkcell.

Both TeliaSonera and Altimo, the telecom arm of the Alfa Group, have announced appeal against a June court ruling blocking the merger, which was tipped to end years of wrangling between the pair over ownership of Turkcell.

The court case, which had been lodged by Megafon's 39% shareholder Alisher Usmanov, claimed that the proposed merger violates Russian law, as it would leave foreign governments with key stakes in a strategic Russian asset.

TeliaSonera is 50% state-owned, with the Swedish government holding around 37% and the Finnish government 13%, according

But in a statement, TeliaSonera and Altimo said they “disagree with the court’s decision and believe that it is based on an insufficient analysis of facts and applicable rules and statutes.”

The parties will take their case to Russia's Court of Appeal.

Usmanov has expressed interest in an alternative fate for Megafon – merging it with state-owned Rostelecom in a deal which would give the latter a presence in the mobile market.

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