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MegaFon, Rostelecom to Buy 50% of Euroset

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Rostelecom and MegaFon may purchase Alexander Mamut’s 50.01 percent stake in the country's largest mobile phone retailer Euroset, Kommersant reported, quoting unnamed sources.

Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut may be paid in part with 100 percent of SUP Media, a holding owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who controls 31 percent of MegaFon, the Moscow-based newspaper reported, citing an investment banker and unidentified people close to the companies’ shareholders.

SUP owns LiveJournal blog service, Championat.com, Quto.ru и Redigo.ru web-sites, +SOL advertising agency and Gazeta.ru online newspaper.

The sale may be completed in two to three months, Kommersant said, citing one of the unidentified people. VimpelCom, which controls 49.9 percent of Euroset, didn’t use an option to acquire an additional 24.95 percent stake, the newspaper reported.

"Euroset is more useful for MegaFon rather than for Rostelecom. Two mobile operators can always find a way how to share their business," an unnamed source quoted by Kommersant said.

Mamut bought Euroset in 2008 from Yevgeny Chichvarkin and Timur Artemyev for $1.25 billion. Soon after the deal, he sold 49.9 percent to VimpelCom. Mamut wanted to sell up to 35 percent in Euroset through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange last April, but the offering stalled due to a lack of demand.

Euroset, MegaFon and Rostelecom were unavailable for comment for RIA Novosti.

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