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Russian antitrust delays mulling MegaFon’s deal to buy Euroset stake

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MOSCOW, Oct 24 (PRIME) -- Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has delayed the consideration of major mobile operator MegaFon’s deal to buy a stake in cell phone retail chain Euroset for up to two months, the federal service’s Deputy Director Anatoly Golomolzin told reporters on Wednesday.

“We have delayed (the consideration) in order to further examine all of the deal’s terms and conditions,” Golomolzin said.

The federal service has received information that other market participants are concerned about the deal, he said.

In early October, the antimonopoly service’s Director Igor Artemyev, said the service was likely to clear MegaFon to buy a stake in Euroset, while also instructing the company to avoid discrimination against competitors.

In mid-October, MegaFon’s board of directors approved a deal to buy a 25% stake in Euroset for up to $590 million. MegaFon will buy a 50% stake in Cyprus-based Lefbord Investments Limited, which will own a 50% stake in Euroset. Tycoon Alisher Usmanov’s Garsdale, which holds a 50% plus one share stake in MegaFon, will buy the remaining 50% in Lefbord Investments Limited. MegaFon and Garsdale will therefore jointly hold a 50.0% stake in Euroset, acquired from tycoon Alexander Mamut, who currently owns a 50.1% stake in the retailer.

Major mobile operator VimpelCom reportedly plans to buy Mamut’s remaining 0.1% stake in Euroset to increase its stake to 50.0% from the current 49.9% and own Euroset on a parity basis with MegaFon and its affiliate.

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