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VimpelCom, MTS Bid for Tele2 Russia Would Shut Out Rival

Russian cell-phone operators OAO Mobile TeleSystems and VimpelCom Ltd. are seeking to topple VTB Group’s agreement to acquire Swedish Tele2 AB’s Russia unit, which may prevent the creation of a fourth nationwide mobile operator.

MTS and VimpelCom have jointly offered to acquire Tele2 Russia for as much as $4.25 billion, the companies said in a statement March 28. VTB Group, Russia’s state-run bank, agreed on March 27 to acquire Tele2’s Russian unit for $3.55 billion in cash and debt.