Telenor’s opposition to VimpelCom’s proposed acquisition of Wind Telecom (formerly Weather Investments) shows no sign of letting up, with the Norwegian firm initiating a court case to protect the “pre-emptive rights” that it enjoys as a key VimpelCom shareholder.
With economic interest of 39.6% and a voting share of 36%, Telenor’s stake in VimpelCom is second only to Russian group Altimo’s. Together with VimpelCom, the Russian group is the target of Telenor’s legal action, with the Norwegian company arguing that “VimpelCom's proposed acquisition of Wind Telecom is not a Related M&A Transaction under the VimpelCom Shareholders Agreement.”
Telenor’s objection stems from a discrepancy between economic and voting rights that will arise if the deal closes; the voting interest of current Wind Telecom shareholders would be significantly higher than their economic interest – 30.6% against 20% respectively.
Meanwhile, Telenor’s voting stake would be lower than its economic stake – 25% and 31.7% respectively. Maintaining its objection that the merger with Wind Telecom would not be “in the best interests of VimpelCom shareholders”, Telenor is attempting to prevent VimpelCom shares from being issued to Wind shareholders – essentially derailing the merger.