Russian telco VimpelCom is set to acquire Wind Telecom after its shareholders approved the $6.6 billion deal. The deal will create the world's fifth largest mobile operator by subscribers, with a footprint in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Italy.
Alexander Izosimov, CEO and president, VimpelCom, said the two companies will benefit from a "diversified revenue base", larger scale of operations, and potential cost savings of $2.5 billion.
He added that the combined company will have 173 million mobile subscribers covering a population of 838 million people. Norwegian telecom operator Telenor, which owns 36% of Vimpelcom and was against the deal to acquire Wind Telecom, said it remained "committed" to Vimpelcom.
"Even though we believe VimpelCom would have been better off without this deal, we will now continue to work in the best interest of VimpelCom and its shareholders, as well as to help ensure that management eventually deliver positive results from both the existing and the newly acquired operations," said Dag Melgaard, a spokesman for Telenor Group.
VimpelCom originally signed a deal to acquire Wind Telecom, which is owned by Egyptian entrepreneur Naguib Sawiris, back in October 2010.