Bank Rossiya units seeking purchase of Tele2 from VTB

By Marc Castro

Oct 04, 2013 10:48 PM EDT

Two subsidiaries of Bank Rossiya had filed an application for antitrust review and approval. This is in connection with their intent to purchase nearly 50% of Tele2 Russia, the mobile phone operator, from the VTB Group. This comes after the state backed VTB Group purchased the mobile phone operator for a whopping USD3.6 billion last March.

Invintel BV sought permission to purchase as much as 40% while ABR Management BV asked to be permitted to buy 10% of the fourth largest mobile operator in Russia. This was confirmed by an unnamed press officer at the Federal Anti Monopoly Service, who sought anonymity due to department regulations. The service would determine the validity of the bids within thirty days of its submission.

According to the bank's website, the two applicants are affiliated with Bank Rossiya. Yury Kovalchuck, a long time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin owns 38% of the bank.

Last October 1, VTB First Deputy President Yuri Soloviev said the state owned bank had laid out plans to divest a 'subtantial' stake in Tele2Russia 'within weeks.' This would help the second largest banking institution in Russia reach its profit objectives for 2013, according to Soloviev. 

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