MOSCOW, November 30 - RAPSI. The Moscow Commercial Court has terminated proceedings in the Federal Antimonopoly Service's claim disputing Telenor's purchase of 234 million privileged shares in VimpelCom Ltd. from Weather Investments II S.a.r.l, the court told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com) Friday.
VimpelCom Ltd. is the 100-percent owner of the Russian VimpelCom, a Beeline trademark.
The case was closed after the watchdog decided not to take part in the lawsuit.
On November 23, the Federal Antimonopoly Service recalled the lawsuit that it had submitted to the Moscow Commercial Court against Telenor to invalidate its purchase of VimpelCom Ltd. Shares. The interim measures under the lawsuit were also removed. Federal Antimonopoly Service head Igor Artemyev had submitted a motion to the court on November 23 to recall all the service's claims against Telenor, including the interim measures previously taken.
The watchdog earlier disputed the transaction between Telenor and Weather, which resulted in the Norwegian company becoming the largest shareholder in VimpelCom, with a 39.5-percent stake.
VimpelCom has a 100-percent stake in the Russian telecom giant by the same name.
However, another shareholder, Altimo, which controls Alfa Group's telecommunications assets, subsequently increased its stake in VimpelCom to 47.85 percent from 41.9 percent after buying the shares of Bertofan Investments Limited, owned by Ukrainian businessman Viktor Pinchuk. Thus, the foreign investor will no longer have control of the strategic Russian company.
VimpelCom was established in autumn 2009 as the result of a merger between Altimo, which manages the telecommunications assets of VimpelCom's major shareholder Alfa Group, and Telenor's interests in Russia's VimpelCom and Ukraine's Kievstar. In mid-April 2011, VimpelCom merged with Wind Telecom (formerly Weather Investments) to become the world's sixth leading cellular operator in terms of the number of users.
Altimo, a Russian company, holds a 40.5-percent stake in VimpelCom Ltd. Telenor was also prohibited from implementing the option contract under the watchdog's lawsuit.