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Billionaire Fridman Offers to Buy All of Orascom Telecom

Billionaire Fridman Offers to Buy All of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom
An Orascom Telecom Holding SAE sign sits outside the company's headquarters at Nile City Towers, in Cairo. Photographer: Shawn Baldwin/Bloomberg

Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman offered to buy all of Orascom Telecom Holding SAE, the Egyptian cellular company majority owned by Russia’s VimpelCom Ltd., which he controls.

Fridman’s Altimo is offering 70 cents a share for Cairo-based Orascom, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority said today, valuing the company at about $3.67 billion. Altimo owns about 47.9 percent in VimpelCom, which in turn owns about 51.7 percent of Orascom.

Orascom fell 0.9 percent to 4.37 Egyptian pounds (64 cents) at the close in Cairo, valuing the company at about $3.4 billion. The London-listed depositary receipts, which equal five common shares, closed up 1 percent on March 28 to $3.18.

“We were expecting that they would be taking Orascom out of the market, but we think it’s a very low price,” Maria Samir, a telecom analyst at Cairo-based investment bank Beltone Financial, said by phone. “It doesn’t make sense to remain listed when there are no operations in Egypt anymore.”

Orascom has assets in Algeria, Canada, Central African Republic, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burundi and Zimbabwe, according to its website.

Altimo’s press service in Moscow declined to comment on the regulatory filing.

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