MOSCOW Nov 13 Russian state-controlled telecoms
operator Rostelecom will offer to buy out minority
shareholders who do not support the proposed spin-off of its
mobile assets, the company said on Wednesday.
The spin-off is part of a strategy shift that will see the
former fixed-line monopoly focus on fixed broadband, pay
television and media while putting its mobile assets under the
management of a partner.
According to reports, Rostelecom plans to contribute its
wireless business to an alliance with Tele2 Russia - a former
unit of Sweden's Tele2 now owned by VTB and
investors led by banker Yuri Kovalchuk, a long-time associate of
President Vladimir Putin.
The combination of the fourth- and fifth-largest mobile
phone operators is expected to create a stronger rival to market
leaders MTS, Megafon and Vimpelcom
Rostelecom's board will set a price for the buyout and call
an extraordinary shareholder meeting to vote on the spin-off of
its mobile assets - including data-focused LTE licences - into
an entity called RT-Mobile on Nov. 19, it said in a statement.
The board will also discuss the company's strategy through
2018, the company said.
Its preferred shares gained 2 percent on the
news while its common stock was flat.