MTS and “Coherent” have settled almost $1 billion

Mobile operator MTS and the retailer “Svyaznoy” announced the settlement of mutual claims and withdrew all claims to each other from the courts. The companies have agreed that MTS will pay “Them” for the sale of SIM cards in 2015 — previously, the retailer has achieved this through the courts. In addition, “Messenger” no longer requires to recover from MTS 77.6 billion rubles ($982 million at the exchange rate at 11 February) for the use of the trademark “Svyaznoy mobile”, and the operator will cease to challenge in court the resolution of the FAS for the purchase of a “Coherent” company Oleg Malis. This was reported by representatives of “Svyaznoy” and MTS.

At the end of September 2015, “the Messenger” demanded the MTS 680 million rubles, arguing that the statement is not paid in full accounts under the agent remuneration in 2015. Then the amount in dispute has increased to 1 billion rubles, because the initial amount of the unpaid agent fee added to the penalty, said a source close to one of the parties. Now the companies have agreed that MTS “in full” will pay “Them” a Commission for the sale of the contracts, the representative of the retailer Maria Zaikina, without naming a specific amount. The representative of MTS Dmitry Solodovnikov confirmed that the amount of the claim, now withdrawn, is 1 billion rubles, He did not specify exactly how much in the agreement between the parties the operator will pay “Them”.

Then, in September, MTS had any counter claims to “Them” in 800 million roubles by results of audit of its work on connecting subscribers. But the operator has not filed the corresponding claim to the retailer, so in the settlement agreement resolving this matter is not fixed, said the source familiar with the negotiations between the two companies. According to him, “the issue will be resolved in due course”, part of a settlement agreement. According to Zaikina, the parties renounced their mutual claims for payment of remuneration and administration of contracts — including claims MTS at 800 million rubles, as well as a number of claims “Connected” to the operator associated with the penalty on payments.

In addition, the company settled the dispute around the brand “Svyaznoy mobile” — a virtual mobile operator, a joint project in the summer of 2015 has been frozen. The parent company “Coherent”, the Cypriot Trellas Enterprises Ltd in December of 2015 brought an action against MTS for 77.6 billion roubles for infringement of that trademark. Then the representative Trellas said it sold about 800 thousand SIM cards, but the company has not received from contractor any compensation for the use of the trademark “the Messenger”. Now Trellas rejected the claims.

Instead, MTS has ceased to challenge in court the decision of the Federal Antimonopoly service (FAS), which approved the deal on purchase of 51% Trellas company North Financial Overseas Corp. (“daughter” of the group Solvers Oleg Malis). Then, MTS has filed a lawsuit because, according to the company’s lawyers, the deal “monopolize the market”.

The protracted conflict of MTS and “Coherent” began in the spring of 2015 (see incision). Now the company do not exclude that they will return to cooperation. “Never say never. Perhaps in the future we go back to the idea of renewed relations, but most importantly, they were absolutely acceptable to both parties”, — said Solodovnikov. “The messenger” is interested in working with all players on the market of Russia. It is important for us that our clients had the widest possible choice,” said Zaikina.

Conflicts in mobile retail

From “Liaison” left “MegaFon” and “VimpelCom”

Co-owners of the company “Euroset”, its main competitor “Coherent” operators “MegaFon” and “VimpelCom” began in late 2012. Already in 2013, both operators have ceased to cooperate with “Connected”: their clients have lost the opportunity to pay for mobile communications in the salons of the retailer, sell their SIM cards in the “Connected” also stopped.

MTS also considered the possibility of purchase of the retailer: in the fall of 2014 the deal was approved by the FAS. But the purchase never took place. Analysts believed that this was prevented by a complication of the General economic situation and the issue of the basic shareholder of MTS — AFK “System” (in particular, loss of “Bashneft”).

In 2014 “the Messenger” came under the control of the group Solvers Oleg Malis — brother of the President “Euroset” Alexander Malis. This happened after Trellas (the parent structure of Svyaznoy group) did not return ONEXIM Mikhail Prokhorov a loan of $120 million and accrued interest on it. These debt obligations do ONEKSIM purchased Solvers, getting laid on a loan a 51% stake Trellas. In 2015, Oleg Malis became a full shareholder “Coherent”.

From “Liaison” left MTS

Two years later, in early April 2015, “MegaFon” and “VimpelCom” have restored full cooperation with the retailer “Svyaznoy”. Subscribers operators again received the opportunity to replenish accounts in his salons without a fee. In addition, the retail chain has increased sales of SIM cards these representatives of the “big three”.

At the beginning of June in interview to the newspaper “Vedomosti” the President of MTS Andrey Dubovskov stated that the company “have questions” to the volumes of sales contracts in the “Connected” who “recently fell by more than 4 times”. However, the head of MTS said that he is concerned about the quality of the involved and “Connected” subscribers of MTS. “I think in the near future we will decide what to do with it,” — said Dubovskov. In June 2015, MTS ceased to cooperate with the retailer.