VimpelCom started its transaction aimed at acquiring the assets of KievStar-GSM, the largest mobile telecommunications service provider of Ukraine. The major competitor of VimpelCom, Mobile Telesystems (MTS), is showing interest in another Ukrainian mobile telecommunications operator, UMS. The rivalry of the two Russian mobile telecommunications giants may thus soon reach far beyond Russian borders.
The shareholders of KievStar are Telenor, a Norwegian telecommunications company, - 45.42 percent, Storm - 32.4 percent, Omega - 5.69 percent, Sputnik investment fund - 16.6 percent. On May 1, 2002 KievStar offered its services to 1.35 million subscribers. 51 percent of UMS shares are held by Ukrtelcom. Deutsche Telecom, Tele Danmark and KPN of Netherlands hold 16.3 percent of shares each. On May 1, 2002 UMS' customer base was 1.21 million.
As it is plain to see from the stock capital breakdown of these mobile telecommunications operators, VimpelCom and MTS' interest for these companies is pretty understandable. Telenor is a strategic partner and shareholder of VimpelCom, while Deutsche Telecom is a co-owner of MTS. According to available data, VimpelCom is acquiring KievStar's assets from Telenor, the Kommersant newspaper reported.