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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Golden Telecom Buys Corbina From Vekselberg

Golden Telecom, a provider of Internet, voice and data services, bought Corbina Telecom Group from Viktor Vekselberg and his partner to tap growth in web use, the company's CEO, Jean-Pierre Vandromme, said Tuesday.

Golden Telecom paid about $162 million for 51 percent of Corbina, including 8 percent of its shares and $10 million cash, Vandromme said.

Acquiring Corbina will help Golden Telecom expand in Russia, where Internet users reached 25 million last year. Corbina operates in Moscow and 24 regions of Russia, providing broadband Internet, voice and data services. The companies together will spend more than $1 billion over four years to roll out networks in the 65 largest cities with a combined population of 65 million.

"By far it is the most ambitious of fiber-to-the-building projects in the world," Vandromme said. In three years, the company plans to provide Internet access to 15 million households, he said.

Corbina's remaining shareholders, Vekselberg and Alexander Mamut, may sell up to 25 percent of the company late next year in an IPO to give the company "exposure to Russian investors," Vandromme said.

Corbina may also sell new shares at the same time to finance further development of the network together with Golden Telecom, should it decide to expand beyond the 65 cities, he said.