Vekselberg, Mamut Out of Golden

Oil and metals billionaire Viktor Vekselberg and investor Alexander Mamut have agreed to sell their 8 percent in Golden Telecom to VimpelCom to create the country's first combined fixed- and mobile-phone provider.

Inure Enterprises, controlled by Mamut and Vekselberg, has accepted VimpelCom's offer, Mamut said in a telephone interview Thursday. The stake is worth $335.3 million, based on the $105 per share VimpelCom offered.

Inure's agreement to sell its stake means VimpelCom will have the minimum 63.3 percent it requires to proceed with its purchase of Golden Telecom for $4.3 billion. Golden Telecom will give VimpelCom, the country's second-largest mobile-phone operator, more than $1 billion in additional annual revenue, more than 400,000 new broadband Internet customers and a foothold in fixed-line services.

"It is a very strong deal," Mamut said. "It will offer all telecommunications products from one place, VimpelCom." He declined to specify how the proceeds from the Golden Telecom sale would be used.

Golden Telecom shares rose 28 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $104.34 at 12:31 p.m. in New York, valuing the company at $4.2 billion. VimpelCom shares fell 58 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $36.33, valuing the company at $37.3 billion.

"This deal is milking VimpelCom," Sergei Vasin, a telecommunications analyst at Metropol, said Thursday. "Golden Telecom is an overvalued asset."