Russia’s Fridman forms $16 bln fund to invest in US, European telecoms -FT

(Reuters) – Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman and his Russian partners have come together to create a private-equity-style group that will invest in technology and telecom companies in the U.S. and Europe, the Financial Times reported.

The private-equity fund called LetterOne Technology (L1Technology), will utlize its $16 billion in funds – stretchable up to $25 billion – to buy struggling telecom companies that require fresh infusion of capital or technology companies that make apps or streaming services that could be used by its global mobile operations, the FT quoted L1Technology’s Chief Executive Alexey Reznikovich as saying.

L1Technology will also act as a holding company for the 48 percent that Fridman and his partners own in VimpelCom Ltd and 13 percent they own in Turkcell, the paper said.

The PVE fund’s board will comprise of Lastminute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman, Irish telecoms entrepreneur Denis O’Brien, former Google payments executive Osama Bedier, ex-Skype executive Russ Shaw and Sir Julian Horn-Smith, one of the founding management team at Vodafone, the FT reported.

Fridman has been under fire from the British government over a 5 billion euro takeover of energy firm DEA from Germany’s RWE , and had threatened to sue the government if it forces his company to divest U.K. assets.

LetterOne Technology could not be immediately reached for comment outside regular business hours.