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Russia’s MegaFon board approves buying 25% in Euroset for $590 million

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MOSCOW, Oct 15 (PRIME) -- The board of directors of major Russian mobile operator MegaFon has approved buying a 25% stake in cellular phone retail chain Euroset for up to U.S. $590 million, MegaFon said in publications released on Monday.

The cellular phone retail chain is now owned by Netherlands-based Euroset Holding N.V., 50.1%-controlled by tycoon Alexander Mamut and 49.9%-owned by mobile operator VimpelCom.

Under the deal approved by MegaFon’s board, the operator will buy a 50% stake in Cyprus-based Lefbord Investments Limited for $590 million. The Cyprus-based company will hold 50% of Euroset Holding N.V. by that time.

Tycoon Alisher Usmanov’s Garsdale, which holds a 50% plus one share stake in MegaFon, will buy the remaining 50% stake in Lefbord.

In over three years from the time the deal is concluded, MegaFon will be allowed to buy Garsdale’s stake in Euroset for $1.33 billion under an option agreement.

MegaFon’s shareholders will deliberate on the deals with Lefbord and Garsdale at their extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on November 6. The register of shareholders, who are entitled to take part in the meeting, closes on Monday.

The shareholders will also consider corporate governance in Euroset Holding N.V.

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service Director Igor Artemyev said in September that the regulator is likely to clear MegaFon to buy a stake in Euroset with an instruction to avoid discrimination against competitors.

VimpelCom reportedly plans to buy the remaining 0.1% stake in Euroset from Mamut to own the retailer on a parity basis with MegaFon.

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