Moscow, Russian Federation and Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (“MTS” – NYSE: MBT), the leading telecommunications operator in Russia and the CIS, and VimpelCom Ltd (“VimpelCom” or “VIP” – NYSE:VIP), a leading international provider of telecommunications services, announce that both companies have submitted a joint letter for the attention of Mr. Mike Parton, Chairman, and Mr. Mats Granryd, President and CEO, of Tele2 AB, expressing their interest in the acquisition of Tele2 Russia, a subsidiary of Tele2 AB.
In the letter, MTS and VIP indicate that they would be prepared jointly to acquire 100% of Tele 2 Russia for between US$ 4.0 - 4.25 billion, including US$1.15 billion of net debt. This represents a premium of up to 30% for Tele2 AB and its shareholders relative to the equity value of the recently announced offer from VTB Capital.
In the letter, both Mr Andrei Dubovskov, President and Chief Executive Officer of MTS, and Mr Jo Lunder, Chief Executive Officer of VimpelCom, wrote, “We would like to express our strong interest in providing an alternative offer to the shareholders of Tele2 AB and we think this is a distinctly more attractive proposal. We remain convinced that we can create vastly superior value for your shareholders and would be prepared to enter into discussions immediately with the aim of being able to conclude a transaction within a short timeframe and hence deliver the sort of transaction certainty we imagine Tele2 would be seeking.”
They added, “We believe that MTS and VimpelCom demonstrate organizational strengths that combine well with the values of an organization like Tele2 and its shareholders. Both companies are publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange, which mandates the highest levels of information transparency and corporate governance standards. MTS and VimpelCom are leading employers in Russia, and their adoption of leading procurement and technological practices will ensure that Tele2 employees will identify with a culture that is as open and dynamic as any global company. Likewise, both companies believe that a combined transaction is feasible and that a joint approach would ensure that the necessary regulatory approvals, consistent with the practices of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS), would be obtained for the regional markets concerned.”
Mr Dubovskov and Mr Lunder also commented, “Neither MTS nor VimpelCom were permitted to meet with Tele2 AB financial advisors or management to discuss the potential acquisition, which is why we have sent the letter to the Board of Directors and management of the company today.”