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Billionaire Fridman's Alfa raises stake in VimpelCom to 36.9%

Alfa Group, Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's holding company, raised its stake in OAO VimpelCom to 36.9% as part of its fight with Telenor ASA for control of Russia's second-largest mobile phone company.

Units of Moscow-based Alfa last week agreed to spend about $115 million exercising options to buy 0.6% of OAO VimpelCom's stock, according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing dated March 3. Alfa Group agreed to buy 1.3 million American depositary receipts for $79.69 each and another 140,200 for $80.88 apiece, transactions expected to be completed this month, according to the filing. Altimo and Telenor ASA are fighting a legal battle over VimpelCom's expansion into Ukraine, where both companies already own telecommunications assets. Both companies applied with the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service to get a controlling stake in VimpelCom while seeking each other's exit from the company. (Bloomberg)