Telenor says "very close" to closing Alfa deal

OSLO Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:42am EDT

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OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's Telenor (TEL.OL) said it was very close to closing a deal with Russia's Alfa Group to merger their Russian and Ukrainian mobile operators following a successful share exchange and the withdrawal of a court suit.

"We are very close to closing this deal, provided that the Farimex issue is settled at no cost to us and the closing of the Russian part of the offer on April 20," Telenor spokesman Dag Melgaard said on Friday.

"Russian bailiffs still hold our (Vimpelcom) shares in arrest, and this needs to be lifted and all proceedings canceled. But we are very happy with these developments."

Some 97 percent of Vimpelcom shareholders agreed to exchange their shares in the Russian operator into stock in Vimpelcom Ltd -- a new entity which includes Ukrainian mobile group Kyivstar -- in a tender which ended on Thursday. A Russian part of the offer runs out on April 20, Melgaard said.

(Reporting by Wojciech Moskwa)

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