Telenor in key ruling to stop Vimpelcom dilution

NORWAY’S Telenor faced a London court for a second time yesterday, seeking to protect its voting rights in Russian cellphone company Vimpelcom.

Telenor is asking for an injunction to prevent the dilution of its 36 per cent stake in Vimpelcom, which is buying $6bn (£3.7bn) in telecom assets from Naguib Sawiris’s Wind Telecom.

Telenor is resisting that deal ahead of a special general meeting to vote on the transaction on 17 March.

“A ruling against Telenor means that the deal will probably get done. A ruling in favour gives them a fighting chance,” said an investment banker.

If the deal is approved, Sawiris will receive 30.6 per cent of Vimpelcom voting stock, reducing Telenor’s holding to 25 per cent.

If Telenor wins the injunction, Vimpelcom must put enough new shares into an escrow account so that Telenor’s stake would not change if the deal is voted through by investors.