According to The Times, a British telecoms company owned by Roman Abramovich is being sold to two European tech entrepreneurs for about $1.
Truphone was valued at $512 million ($410 million) in 2020 and has acquired almost $375 million of investment from Abramovich and two business partners, Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov. According to the newspaper, Abramovich has ownership of 23% of the company.
Truphone hired the advisory firm FRP in April to review its “strategic options” after the restrictions were imposed on the former owner of Chelsea FC.
Hakan Koc is one of the two entrepreneurs who has become one of the preferred bidders for Truphone, according to The Times.
However, rivals are worried about Koc’s links to Frolov as his used car marketplace Auto1 has received funds from a firm operated by Frolov’s son.
The Financial Times reported that Koc would own 90% of Truphone while his business associate, a former telecom executive and private equity investor, Pyrros Koussios, would own 10% of the company. Truphone works to provide electronic SIM cards for companies and consumers.
Abramovich had to sell Chelsea FC after being hit by western sanctions amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The $5.3 billion deal was completed last month by a group led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly and the investment firm Clearlake.
Abramovich was once one of Russia’s richest oligarchs, worth an estimated $14 billion, but the western sanctions have halved his wealth!
According to the report, the current owners of Truphone have agreed to invest more than $12 million and will take on certain contractual obligations, such as one-off payments and debts including a $660,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission linked to the company’s misrepresentation of ownership.
People familiar with the deal said that the existing owners would receive up to a third of the original funds invested. However, Abramovich will not receive the funds while he remains subject to sanctions.