Court Sides With Telecoms Over Petersburg Pensioner

The saga of a lone pensioner who put the merger of three St. Petersburg telecom giants on hold by defending his shareholders rights came to an end Thursday in a St. Petersburg federal court.

Sergei Moiseyev, the owner of 1,000 shares in St. Petersburg National and International Telephone or SPMMT, appealed to the court in July to have the merger between SPMMT, Petersburg Telephone Network or PTS and St. Petersburg Telegraph halted until a study could be done on the share-swapping ratio involved in the deal.

The $450 million merger of the three telecoms was announced in March.

It was hailed by observers as an important stage in the restructuring of the country’s floundering telecommunications sector.

At Thursday’s hearing, Moiseyev argued that SPMMT’s minority shareholders were to receive stock in the new company, which will keep the PTS name, that will be worth less than half the value of their stock in SPMMT.

Two firms, Renaissance Capital and Info Park, were hired by the telecoms to determine the relative values of the stock in the three companies in order to create a formula for the conversion of SPMMT and SPT shares into those in PTS.

"The valuation of the companies produced a price of 8 rubles per share in SPMMT," Moiseyev said after the hearing. "But the shareholders meeting that voted for the merger, took place March 31 — four months after that price was announced. By that time one SPMMT share was worth, according to information provided in the media, 39.13 rubles. The company hid this information."

But the judge sided with SPMMT who held that the calculation of the value of the shares was accurate.

"I won’t lose anything, because I will not sell my shares," Moiseyev said after the hearing.