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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Dismisses Telenor Suit

The Moscow Arbitration Court dismissed a lawsuit Monday by Norway's Telenor, which is seeking to invalidate a decision last year by VimpelCom to buy Ukrainian mobile operator URS.

The court decision is the latest step in a long-running dispute between VimpelCom's two primary shareholders -- Telenor and Alfa Group -- over business strategy in Ukraine.

VimpelCom purchased URS more than a year ago for $231 million, supported by Alfa Group and holders of its free-floating shares, but the Scandinavian operator opposed the deal.

Telenor has since filed three separate lawsuits alleging that the acquisition was illegal and later blocked VimpelCom's 2006 budget in apparent protest. The Moscow court has already dismissed one case.

"It is my hope that this second court decision in favor of VimpelCom sends an even clearer message to Telenor that it is time to act in the best interests of all VimpelCom shareholders and withdraw its remaining lawsuit against the company," VimpelCom CEO Alexander Izosimov said in a statement.

"We're considering our options," Kjell-Morten Johnsen, head of Telenor's operations in Russia, was quoted as saying by Dow Jones Newswires, without giving any further details.

Telenor and Alfa Group also fought bitterly over VimpelCom's $5 billion stock offer for leading Ukrainian mobile operator Kyivstar in February.

The Norwegian operator is already the major shareholder in Kyivstar, and responded to coolly to the offer, preferring that VimpelCom spend its money elsewhere.

In June, VimpelCom said it had withdrawn its bid.