Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut may sell his 50.01 percent stake in the country’s largest mobile phone retailer Euroset to mobile phone operator MegaFon and the country’s long-distance operator Rostelecom, Kommersant business daily reported on Tuesday, quoting unnamed sources.
The deal is likely to be completed within two or three months, the paper said. A source quoted by Kommersant said the deal could bring Mamut a 100 percent stake in holding company SUP Media, which is affiliated with businessman Alisher Usmanov, who owns 31 percent of MegaFon.
SUP owns LiveJournal blog service, Championat.com, Quto.ru и Redigo.ru web-sites, +SOL advertising agency and Gazeta.ru online newspaper.
Euroset’s second core shareholder VimpelCom, one of Russia’s top three mobile operators, had a preferential right to increase its 49.9 percent stake but declined.
“Euroset is more useful for MegaFon rather than for Rostelecom. Two mobile operators can always find a way how to share their business,” an unnamed source quoted by Kommersant said.
Mamut bought Euroset in 2008 from Yevgeny Chichvarkin and Timur Artemyev for $1.25 billion. Soon after the deal, he sold 49.9 percent to VimpelCom. Mamut wanted to sell up to 35 percent in Euroset through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange last April, but the offering stalled due to a lack of demand.
Euroset, MegaFon and Rostelecom were unavailable for comment for RIA Novosti.