Bloomberg News

VimpelCom Rises Most Since May 2010 as Telenor Boosts Stake

February 15, 2012

(Updates prices in second paragraph.)

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- VimpelCom Ltd. rose the most in 21 months in the U.S. after Telenor ASA increased its stake in the company and withdrew all claims against other shareholders in a pending arbitration.

VimpelCom, a mobile operator with more than 200 million subscribers worldwide, rose 6.4 percent today, the most since May 10, 2010, to settle at $11.98 in New York, bringing this year’s advance to 27 percent. The stock lost 37 percent in 2011.

Telenor ASA said in a statement today that it bought 234 million VimpelCom Ltd. preferred shares from Weather Investments II S.a.r.l. for $374.4 million, increasing its voting stake in the company to about 36 percent.

Telenor also withdrew all its claims against Altimo Holdings & Investments Ltd., Altimo Cooperatief U.A. and VimpelCom Ltd. in the pending arbitration, it said in a statement.

“The stock moves on the removal of uncertainty,” Luis Saenz, chief executive officer of the U.S. unit of Moscow-based brokerage Otkritie Financial Corp, said by e-mail. “The fact that Telenor dropped its claims also means that there will be no pre-emptive rights for Telenor, therefore no further dilution to the minorities.”

Telenor could convert the stock to ordinary shares by paying the full market price to VimpelCom starting from 2013, Saenz said.

Calls to the office phone of VimpelCom spokeswoman Elena Prokhorova in Moscow after business hours weren’t answered.

--Editors: Marie-France Han, Emma O’Brien

To contact the reporter on this story: Halia Pavliva in New York at hpavliva@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emma O’Brien at eobrien6@bloomberg.net


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