November 14, 2012 / 11:06 AM / 5 years ago

Russia's watchdog seen clearing MegaFon's Euroset deal

MOSCOW, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Russian mobile operator MegaFon’s deal to acquire a stake in cellphone retailer Euroset is expected to be approved by the country’s antitrust watchdog on Wednesday.

MegaFon announced plans in October to pay up to $1.33 billion to buy half of Euroset, expanding the number of shops through which it can sell its services in Russia’s highly competitive mobile market. MegaFon competes against MTS and Vimpelcom in Russia.

Igor Artemyev, the head of Russia’s antitrust watchdog FAS, said that FAS could approve the deal on Wednesday on condition of nondiscriminatory access to Euroset shops for MegaFon’s competitors.

Vimpelcom, Russia’s third-largest mobile firm, will hold the other 50 percent stake in Euroset, which has 5,500 stores in Russia and Belarus. MegaFon runs 1,750 of its own stores and 2,000 franchisee shops, according to VTB analysts.

The company, Russia’s No.2 mobile phone company, is also planning a London IPO in the coming weeks after recently receiving an unofficial green light from the UK regulator, sources familiar with the matter said.

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