Veon has agreed to sell its Russian operations to certain senior members of VimpelCom’s management team, led by its current CEO Aleksander Torbakhov.
According to Veon, the management buyout implies an expected enterprise value of around R370 billion (€5.87 billion) and under the terms of the agreement Veon will receive R130 billion.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of requisite regulatory approvals, licences from relevant government authorities and any required consent from Veon creditors. The target completion date for the transaction is on or before June 1, 2023, with options on both sides for extensions in case any required regulatory licence has not yet been received.
Commenting on the transaction, Kaan Terzioglu, CEO of Veon Group, said: “After considering numerous options, I am confident that the agreed sale of VEON’s Russian operations to the VimpelCom management team represents an optimal solution for Veon, its Russian operations and the stakeholders of both companies, including customers, shareholders and creditors, as well as employees both in and outside of Russia. Veon is committed to ensuring the transaction is seamless for staff and customers in Russia, with no disruption to the services currently provided.
“This transaction will be equity accretive, result in significant deleveraging of Veon’s balance sheet and will enhance Veon’s credit profile”.
As part of the deal, ownership of Veon’s Kazakhstan operations will be transferred to Veon Holdings B.V. and certain inter-company loans will be extinguished.
The agreement also includes a customary provision that enables Veon to benefit from a potential subsequent event, including a sale of VimpelCom at a higher valuation, for a period of 30 months following closing.
The agreement is governed by Russian law and provides for international dispute resolution.