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Vimpelcom moves forward with $6 billion Wind Mobile merger, intends to hurdle regulatory snags

Darren Murph

If you thought Verizon Wireless and Alltel's marriage underwent a good bit of scrutiny, you'll soon be swearing that Vimpelcom and Wind Mobile are on some sort of global watch list. The Amsterdam-based Vimpelcom has taken a giant leap towards the completion of a $6 billion merger with Wind Telecom, the latter of which has around 117 million subscribers spread across Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan, North Korea and Canada. If and when the two link hands, the combined effort will be home to a staggering 173 million customers, creating the fifth largest mobile operator by subscriber count. Wind Mobile's head honcho seems more than enthused about the news, and he's hoping that the tie-up will allow prices to sink for just about everyone involved. Claiming feats such as "more access to international cooperation for roaming and long distance services" and the ability to utilize "more leverage and increased scale" to drive down prices, Anthony Lacavera isn't showing any public signs of worry when it comes to regulatory hurdles. In months past, the CRTC took issue with Globalive Wireless -- operator of Wind Mobile -- starting up in Canada, primarily due to the company's largest lender (Orascom) residing outside of the Great White North. As of now, things seem to be sailing right along, but you can bet this marriage won't be formally recognized before a borderline-obnoxious amount of investigating goes down behind the scenes.

[Thanks, Kelvin]

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