Usmanov Ups MegaFon Stake to 39%

Billionaire Alisher Usmanov is buying 58.9 percent in Telecominvest for an unspecified sum to increase his stake in MegaFon, the country's third-largest mobile- phone company.

Usmanov's AF Telecom Holding agreed to buy the stake in Telecominvest, a St. Petersburg-based telecommunications company and a MegaFon shareholder, an official at AF Telecom said Monday. The stake was acquired from Danish lawyer Jeffrey Galmond along with an additional 8 percent stake in MegaFon, he said.

The deal will be closed in three to four months, the AF Telecom official said, declining to comment further.

Usmanov bought 15 percent of Telecominvest last year for $410 million, which means he now holds 73.9 percent of the company, which in turn controls 31.3 percent of MegaFon.

The purchase from Galmond brings the MegaFon stake Usmanov owns directly or through Telecominvest to 39.3 percent.