Telenor takes VimpelCom fight to Bermuda

Telenor is turning to Bermuda as a new front opens up in its battle with VimpelCom shareholder Altimo.
The Norwegian operator today filed a claim with Bermuda’s Supreme Court asking it to declare that a recent purchase of VimpelCom shares has not triggered a mandatory tender offer for the Russian carrier. It is responding to a claim by Altimo that a deal to acquire 234 million shares from third shareholder Weather Investments in February triggered the tender requirement.
“VimpelCom is a Bermuda company. The issue of whether Telenor and Weather Investments have an obligation under VimpelCom’s bye-laws to make a mandatory tender offer is a question of law for determination by a Bermuda court,” Telenor spokesman Dag Melgaard explains, adding. “We filed this claim to ensure that the court has the opportunity to promptly make such a determination.”
Telenor’s action opens a new front in a long running dispute over VimpelCom ownership and voting rights that appeared to have been laid to rest by the share acquisition in February. VimpelCom managers are currently assessing Altimo’s claim that its bye-laws have been breached by the transaction.
Even if Telenor wins this round, it still faces a fight with the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation (FAS) over the deal.