MOSCOW, June 24 St Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya
may buy a 30 percent stake in telecoms operator Tele2 Russia
from fellow lender VTB as a first step to selling the
company to state-controlled Rostelecom, Vedomosti newspaper
reported on Monday.
State-controlled bank VTB bought 100 percent of shares in
Nordic telecom Tele2's Russian business in April for
$3.55 billion. Analysts have said they expect VTB to sell the
firm on to another party, with many pointing to Rostelecom, the
country's fifth largest telecoms operator, as an option.
Vedomosti, citing sources at two telecoms companies and a
state bank, said Bank Rossiya has agreed to buy 30 percent of
Tele2 but would be an intermediary rather than the final
purchaser of the asset.
It gave no further details of how a further sale would be
structured, but cited sources as saying the final buyer could
VTB said last week that talks to sell a stake in Tele2 were
at an advanced stage with a number of private investors.
Bank Rossiya and VTB declined comment. The paper also quoted
a source at VTB as saying that it had not yet decided what
percentage of the company it would sell to Bank Rossiya.
Under the terms of the April deal, if VTB sells the asset
within a year, it will have to give half the profit to Tele2.
Expectations of a merger between Tele2 Russia and Rostelecom
increased last month when Alexander Provotorov, a former CEO of
Rostelecom who had backed the idea of a merger between the pair,
was appointed to run Tele2 Russia.
(Reporting By Megan Davies and Oksana Kobzeva; editing by