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MegaFon Said to Hire Six Banks for $4 Billion 2012 IPO

OAO MegaFon, Russia’s second-largest mobile-phone operator, retained six banks for its London initial public offering this year, which could raise as much as $4 billion, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

The IPO of MegaFon, owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s AF Telecom Holding and Sweden’s TeliaSonera AB, could start as early as September, said the people, who declined to be identified because the plans are private. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have been hired as IPO managers, along with OAO Sberbank, VTB Group, Credit Suisse Group AG and Citigroup Inc., said the people.

At $4 billion, MegaFon’s IPO would be the biggest in Europe since July, when Spain’s Bankia SA raised $4.4 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. AF Telecom obtained majority control of Moscow-based MegaFon in April, buying part of TeliaSonera’s stake and Altimo’s entire shareholding.

Shareholders will sell about 20 percent of MegaFon in the IPO, one of the people said. The company had 61.6 million subscribers in Russia at the end of last year, as well as units in Tajikistan, Abkhazia and Ossetia. It reported net income of 43.6 billion rubles ($1.3 billion) on sales of 242.6 billion rubles last year.

Pyotr Lidov, a spokesman for MegaFon, declined to comment, as did spokesmen for Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. Spokesmen for Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Sberbank and VTB were not immediately available to comment.

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