April 4, 2012 / 5:57 PM / 8 years ago

Telenor raises stakes in Vimpelcom

OSLO, April 4 (Reuters) - Norwegian telecom firm Telenor has further raised its stake in Vimpelcom following a $715-million deal with JP Morgan Securities announced on Wednesday, giving it even more of a say over the firm’s strategy in a long-running corporate battle.

After buying 65 million common shares from the bank, Telenor owns 35.66 percent of Vimpelcom, against 31.67 percent earlier, and 39.51 percent of the votes, up from 36.36 percent before.

In February Telenor wrestled back partial control of Vimpelcom from Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group after buying 234 million shares, boosting its ownwership from 25 percent.

“The news is rather negative for minority shareholders as we see a further risk of company-transforming M&As in the medium term, which might be unfavourable for them,” VTB Capital analysts Victor Klimovich and Natalia Pichugina wrote in a note to clients.

“We think Telenor might be interested in further strengthening, or even consolidating, its position in Vimpelcom,” they added. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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