Veon (formerly VimpelCom Ltd.) is a global provider of telecommunication services founded in 2009, incorporated in Bermuda and headquartered in Amsterdam. It is the sixth largest mobile network operator in the world by subscribers (as of April 2012) with 214 million customers (as per December 31, 2012) in 18 countries. Most of the company's revenue comes from Russia (39%) and Italy (31%).
Veon's brands include Beeline (in Russia and CIS), Kyivstar (in Ukraine), Wind in Italy and Greece, Djezzy (in Algeria), Mobilink (in Pakistan), Banglalink (in Bangladesh), and others.
VimpelCom Ltd. Shareholder Structure:47.9% of voting rights (56.2% Economic rights) owned by Altimo (Alfa Group)
43.0% of voting rights (33.0% Economic rights) owned by Telenor
9.1% (10.8%) – Minority Shareholders
Subsidiaries and shareholdingsOJSC VimpelCom (100%)
OJSC «New telephone company»
Golden Telecom and Golden Telecom Ukraine (Delaware, United States, acquired in 2007)
Corbina Telecom (acquired in 2006)
Cityline (ISP) (acquired in 2001)
Global TeleSystems (GTS), formerly San Francisco Moscow Teleport (SFMT), founded in 1983 by VNIIPAS and an American team which included George Soros
EDN Sovintel (Soviet-American joint venture company founded in 1990, acquired in 2001)
SovAm (Soviet-American) Teleport (founded in 1990 by SFMT)
Russia-On-Line (acquired in 1999)
Wind Telecom S.p.A.
WIND Telecomunicazioni S.p.A. (100%)
Global Telecom Holding S.A.E. (51.7%)
Russian OJSC VimpelCom was founded in 1992 in Moscow when VimpelCom's co-founders, Dmitry Zimin and American Augie K. Fabela II came together to pioneer the Russian mobile industry. Augie Fabela, who was then a young entrepreneur from the United States, and Zimin, who was a Russian scientist in his fifties, together launched the Beeline brand in 1993.
The company was one of the first mobile carriers in Russia. Its name derives from вымпел, the Russian word for pennon.
In 1996, OJSC VimpelCom, then the leader of Moscow cellular market (and automatically the largest mobile operator in Russia), became the first Russian company to have its shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange (with "VIP" as the ticker symbol).
The company's main shareholders are Telenor, a Norwegian telecom conglomerate, and Alfa Group, a vehicle of Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman. They have been locked in a years-long struggle for control of this enterprise as well as other telecommunication assets in Eastern Europe.
In 2008, OJSC VimpelCom obtained a 49.9% stake in Euroset, the largest mobile retailer in Russia and the CIS, which formerly belonged to its founder Yevgeny Chichvarkin.
VimpelCom Ltd. holding company was founded in 2009. In 2009, Telenor and Alfa agreed to merge their assets in VimpelCom and Kyivstar (Ukraine's number one wireless operator) with the aim of creating VimpelCom Ltd. (incorporated in Bermuda).
In October 2010, the united company acquired from Naguib Sawiris two assets:Orascom Telecom Holding SAE, the largest mobile phone company in North Africa;
Wind Italy, the third largest mobile phone company in Italy.
The company has 205 million customers across 20 countries (as of 31 December 2011).
In February 2015, the government of Algeria acquired a 51% stake in Djezzy for US$2.6 billion.
In September 2014, VimpelCom agreed to sell its majority stake in Wind Mobile for $272 million to its minority owner Globalive.
In the summer of 2015, the United States Justice Department claimed that VimpelCom used a network of shell companies and phony consulting contracts to funnel bribes to a close relative of the president of Uzbekistan, in exchange for access to that country’s telecommunications market. The board of one part-owner, Norwegian telecom operator Telenor, has severed consulting ties with former VimpelCom chief executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas due to the continuing police investigation.
In November 2015 the company CEO, Jo Lunder was arrested on corruption charges in Oslo, Norway. The case alleges that in exchange for an operating license, VimpelCom has funneled $57.5M to Takilant, a company linked to Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced 18-02-2016 a global settlement along with the U.S. Department of Justice and Dutch regulators that requires telecommunications provider VimpelCom Ltd. to pay more than $795 million to resolve its violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to win business in Uzbekistan.
On 27 February 2017, VimpelCom renamed itself Veon, named after the messaging platform that it had developed. The company explained that the re-branding was part of a shift towards marketing themselves as a technology company, and not solely a telecommunications firm.