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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MegaFon Deal May End Alfa-IPOC Feud

A bitter dispute over a 25.1 percent stake in MegaFon, the country's third-largest cell phone operator by subscribers, may be nearing an end, Vedomosti reported Monday, citing unidentified sources.

IPOC, a Bermuda-based fund, has been disputing for nearly four years ownership of the stake, which is held by Alfa Group, a major financial and industrial holding controlled by billionaire Mikhail Fridman.

Vedomosti said representatives of Alfa and IPOC were nearing an agreement under which both sides would withdraw their claims against one another, an unidentified source close to MegaFon told the newspaper.

Sources close to IPOC and Alfa confirmed the intention to sign an agreement, but the newspaper said some details remained to be worked out.

Alfa will keep its stake in MegaFon, and Jeffrey Galmond, who says he is the beneficiary of IPOC, will sell his stake in the operator to billionaire Alisher Usmanov, the newspaper reported, citing a source close to MegaFon.

The dispute, which has complicated MegaFon's plans for an initial public offering, started in August 2003 when Alfa bought a 25.1 percent stake for $295 million. IPOC said it had already agreed to buy the stake and has fought the deal in court.

Galmond, a former associate of IT and Communications Minister Leonid Reiman, controls an 8 percent stake in MegaFon through IPOC. Other major shareholders in MegaFon are Sweden's TeliaSonera and telecoms holding company Telekominvest.