BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2018/30

Under a plan released on July 16, one of Russia's largest mobile phone operators, Megafon, will offer to buy out the shares of minority shareholders for a total of about $1.3 billion. About 80 % of the company's shares are held by billionaire Alisher Usmanov and Gazprombank. Megafon stated that in the future it will be more oriented to building up digital services in Russia which may require high-risk investment and close cooperation with state-owned enterprises.

Megafon announced in May that it was partnering with Gazprombank and state-owned Rostec in a joint venture to produce digital services and blockchain-based solutions for Russian corporate clients. The decision to delist reflects a change in corporate strategy, but probably also concerns about publicity issues relating to information on state enterprises and a possible widening of sanctions. Usmanov has been gradually shifting his assets to Russia.