One of the mobile industry's longest running, and possibly most acrimonious, disputes appears to have reached resolution. Norway's Telenor and Russia's Alfa Group have been feuding over the merger of Vimpelcom with Ukrainian operator Kyivstar for more than two years; at one stage Telenor's shares in Vimpelcom were seized by a Russian bailiff.
However, according to media reports, Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has announced that the proposed merger has been given the go-ahead by the Commission on Foreign Investments. Apparently Telenor and the Alfa Group are to pool their holdings in the two mobile operators to establish a new company, Vimpelcom Limited, which will be listed in the US and based in The Netherlands. The new company will provide mobile services to subscribers in Russia, the Ukraine and other CIS countries, as well as in Georgia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
The company is looking longer term to expand into other markets in Europe, Asia and Africa. The deal should be completed by mid-2010.
For more on this story:
Telenor: Russian battle edges towards resolution (possibly)
Russian court freezes Vimpelcom shares
The latest on Telenor's legal battles