VimpelCom agrees $7b Sawiris merger

Russian operator VimpelCom is to acquire the telecom assets of Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris for $6.6 billion (€4.8 billion).
In a merger with Sawiris' Weather Investments, Vimpelcom will win a 52% stake in Orascom Telecom and 100% of Italian carrier Wind, the companies announced Monday.
The deal creates the world’s fifth largest mobile operator by customer numbers, with 174 million subscribers. The combined company would have reported 2009 pro forma net operating revenue of $21.5 billion and ebitda of $9.5 billion.
Under the deal, Orascom’s 35% stake in Egyptian cellco ECMS, its 75% of North Korean operator Koryolink and Wind’s carrier subsidiary, will be demerged.
VimpelCom CEO Alexander Izosimov said the merger “offers our shareholders exposure to attractive growth markets in both Asia and Africa and the opportunity to diversify further our revenue base in terms of geography, currency and market characteristics.”
Weather will hold a 20% stake in the new company. Norwegian telco Telenor will own 32% through its subsidiary Altimo.
The deal is expected to close in Q1 2011.