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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

WSJ and FT report that VimpelCom is buying Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris's 52-percent stake in Cairo-based Orascom. VimpelCom is also acquiring the entire Italian carrier Wind, owned entirely by Sawiris and controlled through his private holding company Weather Investments. The deal will make VimpelCom the world's fifth-largest mobile operator by subscribers, doubling its subscribers to about 174 million. Orascom's Algerian unit, Djezzy, which the Algerian government has prevented from being sold in the past, remains a potential roadblock for the Russian operator. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and VimpelCom executives are flying to Algeria this week as part of an investment conference. There, the company is expected to reiterate that foreign direct investment is in the interest of Algerian officials, writes WSJ. (Financial Times, Wall Street Journal)

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