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VTB to sell over 50% in Tele2 Russia within 1 year

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MOSCOW--VTB Bank plans to reduce its stake in the recently acquired Russian unit of Sweden's Tele2 AB within a year, VTB Deputy Chief Executive Herbert Moos said Wednesday. 

Mr. Moos told reporters at a briefing that VTB is in talks with both Russian and foreign potential buyers of a stake in Tele2 Russia, which the lender considers to be a financial but not strategic investment.

“We plan to reduce our stake in the company below the controlling (stake) within one year (from the moment the deal was completed), -- Moos said. -- We are holding talks with all market participants, not only with Russian, but also foreign (market players)”.

VTB closed the Tele2 deal in early April, buying the mobile unit for $3.6 billion. However, after the deal was announced, other Russian companies made late-stage counteroffers, including a joint bid from Russia's Mobile TeleSystems and VimpelCom Ltd., as well as one from A1, the private-equity arm of Russia's Alfa Group.

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