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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Usmanov Seeks 1/4 of MegaFon

Billionaire Alisher Usmanov has started negotiations to increase his stake in Telekominvest to 73 percent, a step that would give him 22.8 percent of MegaFon, Vedomosti and Kommersant reported Friday.

Usmanov is interested in buying First National Holding's 58.9 percent stake in Telekominvest, Vedomosti reported.

He is also in talks to acquire the Bermuda-registered IPOC Growth Fund, which holds 8 percent of MegaFon, the country's third-biggest mobile phone company, industry sources said, Kommersant reported.

First National Holding and IPOC are controlled by Jeffrey Galmond, a Danish lawyer who is a friend of IT and Communications Minister Leonid Reiman.

Galmond declined to comment when reached on his cell phone Friday, saying it was his policy not to talk to the media.

The Moscow and St. Petersburg offices of Telekominvest declined to comment Friday. Telekominvest holds 31.3 percent in MegaFon.

Earlier this month, Usmanov sealed a $410 million deal to acquire 15 percent of Telekominvest from fixed-line operator North-West Telecom, through a little known firm, Telecom Holding.

Usmanov is also discussing a purchase of First National Holding's stake in MegaFon, Vedomosti said, citing industry sources.

A spokeswoman for MegaFon said Friday that corporate policy forbade the company from commenting on shareholders' activities.