MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) - Russian mobile phone firms Vimpelcom and MTS said they are still offering to buy the Russian unit of Tele2 after the Nordic company said it had been aware of all options before striking a deal with Russian state bank VTB.
“We plan to proceed with our offer, which we believe offers greater value to the shareholders of Tele2,” said Vimpelcom spokesman Bobby Leach.
MTS and Vimpelcom, ranked first and third in the Russian market, offered $4 billion to $4.25 billion for Tele2 Russia last week, outbidding VTB’s agreed purchase of $3.5 billion.
Tele2 defended the deal, saying it decided to sell the asset to VTB being fully aware of other options and that the deal included provisions under which it would, for 12 months after closing, have rights to half of net cash profits obtained by VTB from a possible re-sale.
“The new provisions of VTB and Tele2 deal do not change our plans. We have a clearly superior offer which is financially up to 30 percent more attractive for Tele2 AB shareholders. It has full financing and regulatory clearance prospective,” said MTS spokeswoman Yelena Kokhanovskaya.
“We are waiting for an answer from Tele2 to our request,” she said.
A spokesman for Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s investment partnership A1, which also offered to buy the unit last week, said A1 was aware of the new details disclosed by Tele2 but declined to make any further comments.