Tele2 says talked to most players in market before VTB deal

STOCKHOLM, April 2 Tue Apr 2, 2013 12:53pm EDT

STOCKHOLM, April 2 (Reuters) - Nordic telecoms operator Tele2 said on Tuesday it had had discussions with most of players in the market before it signed a deal to sell its Russian unit to banking group VTB.

"We have had a strategic review of our Russian business for the past 18 months, or maybe a bit more than that, and we have spoken to most of the players, if not all ... regional players, federal players, big players, small players," Tele2 CEO Mats Granryd said in a conference call.

He added that he expected the deal to close in the second quarter.

Tele2's $3.5 billion deal with VTB has attracted counter offers from A1, the investment arm of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, and mobile operators MTS and Vimpelcom .

A1 has said that it is considering legal action to defend its right to buy Tele2's Russian unit.

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