Russia's A1 considers lawsuit over VTB-Tele2 deal

MOSCOW, March 29 Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:19am EDT

MOSCOW, March 29 (Reuters) - Billionaire Mikhail Fridman's A1 investment group said it is considering legal action to defend its right to buy Tele2's Russian unit, which the Nordic telecom company on Wednesday agreed to sell to state-controlled bank VTB.

Tele2's $3.5 billion deal to sell the unit to VTB was followed by a $3.6-$4 billion cash offer from Fridman's A1. VTB has said its deal is legally binding.

A1 argues that it had a number of meetings with Tele2 management last year during which time it made a bid at a higher level than the one agreed with VTB.

A1 said possible legal action could claim lost opportunities and a failure to execute fiduciary duties. Respondents are potentially the board, the management, and Tele2's financial advisors Morgan Stanley, it said.

"Our lawyers are working on considering filing a legal case," Dmitry Vozianov, managing director at A1, told Reuters.

Morgan Stanley did not respond to a message left on their press service phone line in London. Tele2 was not immediately available for comment.

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