Rumours abound that the Russian state-owned operator Rostelecom could be on the verge of acquiring a stake in the Russian operations of Tele2. Reportedly, Bank Rossiva is considering buying a 30% stake in the unit which it would then sell on to Rostelecom as a first push towards a majority acquisition.
The Russian branch of Tele2 was bought in April this year for US$3.55 billion by the state-owned bank VTB, which faced down competition from a VimpelCom-MTS partnership as well as Alfa Group’s investment unit, A1.
VTB reportedly confirmed that negotiations over the sale of a 30% stake were at an “advanced stage”. Speculation about Rostelecom acquiring Tele2’s Russian unit rose last month when former Rostelecom CEO Alexander Provotorov, a major exponent of a merger between the state operator and Tele2, was made the head of the latter operator.