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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Altimo, VimpelCom Eye TeliaSonera Stake

STOCKHOLM -- The Swedish government on Thursday sold a 6 percent stake in TeliaSonera, the top telecoms operator of the Nordics, as Russia's Altimo and VimpelCom voiced interest in further disposals.

Deutsche Bank and UBS placed almost 360 million shares at a discounted 50 Swedish crowns ($7.41) per share, raising about 18 billion Swedish crowns ($2.68 billion) for government coffers.

Sweden's government, which now owns 37.3 percent of TeliaSonera, said Wednesday that it would sell part of its stake in a privatization campaign to raise 150 billion Swedish crowns over three years.

Altimo, the telecoms investment vehicle of billionaire Mikhail Fridman that has long courted TeliaSonera, and Russia's second-largest telecoms company, VimpelCom, both raised their hands Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Swedish-Russian business forum in Moscow, VimpelCom CEO Alexander Izosimov said, "Many Russian companies, including ours, need to expand their presence in other countries.

"And this experience [which TeliaSonera has], both managerial and political, may come in very useful."

Altimo, which owns stakes in telecoms assets in Russia, Turkey and Ukraine also has a key holding in VimpelCom.

But a London-based spokesman said its interest was separate from that of the joint venture in Russia.

Altimo has a history of taking minority stakes in telecoms companies and applying pressure on majority owners, often through the courts, to maximize the value of its investments.

The company has said it is keen on a share swap or other deal with TeliaSonera or Nordic peer Telenor, another co-investor in Russia and Ukraine.