A merger of Vimpelcom and Kyivstar has been delayed by a Siberian court, which has postponed a crucial appeal hearing until April.
The appeal against a court decision to pay out $1.7 billion (€1.27 billion) to shell company Farimex has been postponed for a fourth time, until April 16, Telenor said.
The complete dismissal with prejudice of the Farimex case without any cost or loss to Telenor, is a condition of the Vimpelcom-Kyivstar merger.
Despite holding just 0.002% of Vimpelcom, Farimex sued Telenor for $5.6 billion claiming Telenor members on the Vimpelcom board had delayed the takeover of mobile operator URS.
Telenor had opposed the takeover, claiming the $231.5 million purchase price was too high and the deal was not sufficiently transparent. URS was also making losses at the time.
The first two delays to the trial were made on the grounds that third parties in the case had not yet been notified, Telenor said. The next time it was postponed until after a hearing in a related New York case had been held – the case was dismissed without prejudice.
Now, the liquidation of four companies named as defendants by Farimex – CT Mobile, Avenue, Janow and Santel – means the court wants more time to review documents that name the quartet.
A Ukrainian court this month approved the VimpelCom-Kyivstar merger – indicating it will go ahead if the lawsuit is dealt with.