Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Altimo increased its voting stake in mobile-phone operator VimpelCom Ltd. (VIP) to 41.9 percent after buying about 1.4 percent of the company’s shares from the market, it said in a regulatory filing today.
Altimo and Norway’s Telenor ASA (TEL), which owns 43 percent of VimpelCom’s voting shares, have been fighting since February for control over the mobile-phone operator, which has assets Russia, Italy, Africa and Asia. Russia’s Anti-Monopoly Service has been stopping Telenor from gaining control of the company, which owns strategic assets in the country.
“The stock price looked appealing and we took an opportunity to boost our stake because VimpelCom shares are highly attractive as an investment,” Altimo Vice President Evgeny Dumalkin said by telephone from Moscow.
Ukrainian businessman Viktor Pinchuk owns 6 percent of VimpelCom, and both Altimo and Telenor have said they are interested in this stake.
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