MOSCOW, March 22 Telecoms group Vimpelcom
has hired UBS to arrange a sale of its
Canadian unit Wind Mobile, with initial bids seen valuing the
firm at between $500 million and $1 billion, Canada's The Globe
and Mail newspaper reported.
Vimpelcom is reviewing its asset portfolio to focus on its
most profitable businesses as part of efforts to boost cashflow
and reduce debt. The firm declined to comment on the report.
The paper said that Wind CEO Anthony Lacavera's holding
company, AAL Corp., was teaming up with Egyptian billionaire
Naguib Sawiris's investment firm Accelero Capital to consider a
bid, for which they had already secured financing.
Initial bids are due on Friday, investment bank Canaccord
Genuity's analysts said in a research note, citing sources.
No comment was immediately available from UBS, and
representatives of Lacavera and Sawiris could not be reached.
Egypt's Orascom Telecom, over which Vimpelcom took
control in a deal with Sawiris in 2011, said in January it would
increase its stake in Wind Mobile to take full control and is
currently awaiting regulatory approval.
After the deal was completed, Vimpelcom would consider
various options for Wind Mobile, including divestment, its chief
executive Jo Lunder told Reuters this month.
Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's Altimo and Norway's
Telenor are majority stakeholders in Amsterdam-based
Vimpelcom, whose biggest markets are Russia and Italy.