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All change at Megafon as TeliaSonera exits

The owners of Russian service provider Megafon have agreed a deal whereby TeliaSonera and entrepreneur Mikhail Fridman will sell their respective stakse and control of the company will pass to billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

Under the agreement, which could bring to an end several long-running disputes over the company’s strategic direction and other issues, TeliaSonera will sell its 8.2% stake to Usmanov for US$1.45 billion (EUR1.1 billion), while Fridman will sell his 25.1% holding for US$5.2 billion, with 10% going to Usmanov and the remainder being returned to the company. Teliasonera’s original investment in the company amounted to SEK1.2 billion.

The ownership change could open the way to an IPO for Megafon on the London stock exchange. There has also been some speculation that the company could be merged with Rostelecom. Megafon recently appointed Ivan Tavrin as CEO, replacing Sergei Soldatenkov, who has been tipped as a possible candidate for Russian minister of communication.