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Report: Usmanov May Swap Part of MegaFon Stake for Yota

Alisher Usmanov Maxim Stulov

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov may trade a part of his stake in the country's No.2 mobile phone operator MegaFon for control in next-generation telecoms provider Yota, business daily Vedomosti reported on Tuesday.

The deal would be subject to Usmanov's purchase of 25.1 percent in MegaFon from tycoon Mikhail Fridman, which would see Usmanov raise his stake to a controlling 56.2 percent from 31.1 percent.

He is already in talks with Yota owners Telconet Capital and state corporation Russian Technologies about swapping shares in MegaFon for a stake, the newspaper said.

Yota, the former WiMax operator, owns frequencies for the next-generation high-speed mobile technology LTE (Long Term Evolution), also known as 4G.

Usmanov's spokesman and Altimo, the telecoms unit of Fridman's Alfa-Group, were not immediately available for comment. Russian Technologies declined to comment.

Nordic telecoms firm TeliaSonera has the remaining 44 percent stake in MegaFon. Usmanov is also a shareholder in north London football club Arsenal.

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