MOSCOW, March 29 Billionaire Mikhail Fridman's
A1 investment group said it may take 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
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
partnership. VTB has said its deal is legally binding.
A1 says it also made a "significantly higher" bid than the
one agreed with VTB during meetings with Tele2 management last
A1 said possible legal action could claim lost opportunities
and a failure to execute fiduciary duties. Respondents are
potentially Tele2's board, management and financial advisors
Morgan Stanley, it said.
"Our lawyers are working on considering filing a legal
case," Dmitry Vozianov, managing director at A1, told Reuters.
Tele2's Russian unit also attracted a second offer, from
mobile company Vimpelcom Ltd - which has Fridman as a
shareholder - and rival MTS. They are offering $4.0
billion to $4.25 billion, which they claim is a premium of up to
30 percent to VTB's offer.
Vozianov said that for Tele2 to accept the bid from VTB
meant a difference of "half a billion for minority
"Minority shareholders have a different action - they will
have an action for the loss incurred," Vozianov said. "We are in
talks with them but it is confidential."
Morgan Stanley did not respond to a message left on their
press service phone line in London. Tele2 was not immediately
available for comment.