Goldman Walked Away From MegaFon IPO

Investment bank Goldman Sachs pulled out of a role as a lead bank for MegaFon’s initial public offering (IPO) in Moscow and London after oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who holds a controlling stake in the mobile operator, said he would unite his assets under a single company, The Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

Steel-to-telecoms tycoon Usmanov, who also has a big stake in the UK’s Arsenal football club, announced plans last month to merge his assets under a single umbrella company.

People familiar with the matter told the paper Goldman was concerned it would be working on an IPO where the company’s controlling shareholder was currently undergoing a major restructuring. Goldman Sachs pulled out “at the eleventh hour,” the paper said, but did not say exactly when it happened.

MegaFon CEO Ivan Tavrin said the company had made a final decision on the banks for the deal a week ago, and suggested Goldman had been the only bank on the deal to disagree with Megafon’s preferred October 9 launch date for the offering.

“This is [a] process where all the horses need to run on one time and it’s quite a challenging job for a company to manage six banks in one process. Everybody should be on the same page in terms of timing,” the paper quoted Tavrin as saying.

Goldman Sachs gave no comment.

“The departure of Goldman is a blow to Megafon’s plan to sell an up to 20 per cent stake before the end of the year in one of the biggest Russian equity offerings in London since 2008, and for other groups from the region that hoped to follow in Megafon’s footsteps. It had hoped to raise up to $3bn in the issue,” the paper said.

Morgan Stanley and Sberbank CIB (formerly Troika Dialog brokerage) are currently the MegaFon IPO global coordinators while Citi, Credit Suisse and VTB Capital are joint bookrunners for the deal


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