OSLO, June 5 (Reuters) - Norwegian telecoms group Telenor has rejected a claim from rival Vimpelcom shareholder Alfa that it formed a partnership with a third investor and therefore should make a mandatory offer for the company.
Alfa’s claim referred to the purchase of shares by Telenor from Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris’ Weather group earlier this year that increased Telenor’s voting stake to 36.36 percent - higher than long term corporate adversary Alfa.
“Telenor is not in partnership or in a group with Sawiris, so this is absurd,” said Telenor spokesman Dag Melgaard.
“We see this as an attempt to push down Vimpelcom’s share price, since we are approaching a point in the calendar ... where they can buy shares in the company,” he added.
Alfa, the investment group of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, has been at loggerheads with Telenor for several years over influence and equity in Russia-focused mobile phone group Vimpelcom. (Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg; Writing by John Bowker; Editing by Maria Kiselyova)