UPDATE 1-Russia's A1 says to make $3.6-$4bln counter bid for Tele2 Russia

Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:33am EDT

MOSCOW/STOCKHOLM, March 28 (Reuters) - The investment arm of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman is prepared to make a counter offer to buy the Russia telecoms business of Sweden's Tele2 for $3.6-$4 billion, it said in a statement on Thursday.

The move rivals a bid from Russian bank VTB. Nordic telecoms company Tele2 said on Wednesday it would sell its Russian operations to VTB for an enterprise value of $3.5 billion.

Tele2 said the deal comprised $2.4 billion in equity and $1.15 billion in net debt.

The investment arm of billionaire Fridman's empire said that it was ready to make an all-cash bid with no debt financing.

A1 said it is also interested and willing to agree to a purchase price for the remaining assets of Tele2 over "a very short period of time".

Fridman is flush with cash after recently closing a deal alongside three other tycoons to sell their one-half stake in oil producer TNK-BP to Rosneft for $28 billion.

The tycoon, worth $16.5 billion according to Forbes magazine, also owns a stake in Russia's third biggest telecoms company Vimpelcom.

Tele2 was not immediately available for comment.