Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s attempts to take a stake in the western European telecoms sector are meeting with rejection the length and breath of the continent. A report that his company, Alfa, was in talks to buy 20% of Vodafone was vehemently denied by the UK mobile phone giant which normally never comments on market rumours.
The Russian group said it has also initiated talks with France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom. The French refused to comment on that. Reportedly Altimo, which is Alfa’s telecoms arm, is looking for a joint venture or a merger based on a swap of assets. The German’s have also said they are not interested. And Altimo is not Deutsche Telekom’s only potential Russian suitor. Another conglomerate, Sistema, was reported to have approached Deutsche Telekom suggesting an asset swap with shares in its MTS mobile operator.