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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

North-West Telecom Sells 15%

North-West Telecom said Tuesday that it had sold its 15 percent stake in holding company Telekominvest, a shareholder of No. 3 mobile phone firm MegaFon, for $410 million.

Telekominvest owns 31.3 percent of MegaFon.

The sale was to AF Telecom Holding, a little known company. It was not immediately clear who its backers are.

Sweden's TeliaSonera AB owns 43.9 percent of MegaFon and CT Mobile, a unit of private equity vehicle Alfa Group, owns a further 25.1 percent.

Ola Kallemur, TeliaSonera's head of media relations, said while it would like to get a majority stake in MegaFon, TeliaSonera was not behind AF Telekom Holding, and had not bought any more MegaFon or Telekominvest shares.

"Our interest is to get a controlling stake, a majority stake is our long-term strategy. ... Hopefully we get it some day," he said.

"We are a little bit surprised that we were not offered ... the shares. It is no secret that we are quite interested in getting control of Megafon," Kallemur said.

Alfa also denied being the buyer.

Analysts at UralSib brokerage said the stake sale was below their estimate of fair value, but they still reiterated their buy recommendation on North-West Telecom, saying it could use the proceeds for investment.