Megafon's plans for London IPO threatened by ownership dispute
Friday 19 September 2003
A small Bermudan-based investment company yesterday took on the might of the billionaire Russian oil and banking tycoon, Mikhail Fridman, in a dispute that threatens the float of Russia's third largest mobile phone company on the London and New York stock markets next year.
IPOC International Growth Fund, a $100m (£63m) fund that specialises in investing in IPO opportunities in emerging markets, claims it has the rights to a 25 per cent stake in Megafon and that this has been snatched from it by Mr Fridman's conglomerate, the Alfa Group.
Megafon is the fastest growing mobile business in Russia, with more than 2.5 million subscribers, and estimates have put its value at up to $1bn. IPOC already owns 6.5 per cent in Megafon and it, along with its other shareholders and directors, had planned to list in Russia this year, and internationally in 2004.
IPOC revealed that it had begun legal action to secure its ownership of a further 25 per cent stake in Megafon and stop transfer of the shares to Alfa.
It began talks with the stake's owner, a Russian investment company run by Leonid Rozhestkin called LV Finance, in 2001 and secured an option agreement to take over the Megafon shares. It has paid $49m for the options over the past two years and made the last payment of $16m in July this year. It was informed, however, in August, that LV Finance had since agreed a deal to sell itself, and the Megafon stake, to Alfa. Mr Fridman is considered one of Russia's most influential businessmen and engineered a $7bn deal with BP earlier this year to sell a major stake in his Tyumen Oil Co (TNK) to the British group to create TNK-BP. He began his consortium in the 1990s from a window-washing co-operative and built up a conglomerate of oil, gas, financial and telecoms companies. It owns a stake in rival telecoms company, VimpelCom, Russia's second largest phone operator and is keen to expand its telecoms operations.
IPOC said it was having "difficulties" in getting LV Finance to acknowledge its last payment for the Megafon stock.
"The deal with Alfa is a violation of our agreement with LV Finance," Roland Bopp, general manager of IPOC, said yesterday. "You cannot sell the same assets twice, and all parties should respect our long-standing agreement." LV Finance said last month that it considers the deal with Alfa to be "legally clean and closed".
The other shareholders in Megafon support IPOC, saying LV Finance must honour its agreement to IPOC. They are reluctant to see Megafon fall into Alfa Group's hands, as it is thought that Alfa will want to merge it with VimpelCom, rather than float Megafon. Alfa group failed to return telephone calls.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
Jennifer Lawrence leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by forum users
Gabrielle Union contacts FBI over nude 4Chan pictures leaked by 'vultures'
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
iJobs Money & Business
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...