* Says was fully aware of options for Tele2 Russia
* $3.5 bln deal with VTB has spawned rival offers
* MTS and Vimpelcom, A1 both bidding
STOCKHOLM, April 2 Nordic telecom operator Tele2
said on Tuesday it had decided to sell its Russian
operator to bank VTB being fully aware what other
options existed for the business.
Tele2's Russian business has become the center of rival
offers in the wake of $3.5 billion agreed deal unveiled last
week to sell the assets to state-controlled bank VTB.
In the wake of the news, investment group A1 rolled out an
all-cash bid of $3.6 billion to $4 billion while Russia's top
mobile operator MTS joined with rival Vimpelcom Ltd
in a $4.0 billion to $4.25 billion offer.
Tele2 in a statement defended its decision, which has left
Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's A1 saying it could take
legal action to secure its right to buy Tele2 Russia.
"The Board of Directors' decision to enter into this
transaction was based on its experience in owning and
successfully developing Tele2 Russia over many years, and a full
awareness of all strategic options available," Tele2 said.
Tele2 said already last week it was committed to its deal
with VTB. Tele2 is Russia's fourth-biggest mobile operator with
around 23 million subscribers after MTS, MegaFon and
Vimpelcom, but does not have a 3G or 4G license in Russia.
The company said the terms of its deal with VTB, which it
expected to be completed shortly, included provisions under
which Tele2 for 12 months after closing had rights to half of
net cash profits obtained by VTB from certain types of transfers
of Tele2 Russia shares and assets.