Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s British telecommunications firm Truphone, once worth half a billion dollars, will be sold for $1

A British telecommunications company owned by Roman Abramovich is sold to two European tech entrepreneurs for around $1, The Times reported.

Truphone, valued at $512 million ($410 million) in 2020, received nearly $375 million in investment from Abramovich and two business partners, Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov. According to the newspaper, Abramovich owns 23% of the company.

Truphone hired consultancy FRP in April to review its “strategic options” following the sanctions imposed on the former owner of Chelsea FC.

Hakan Koc is one of two contractors who became one of the preferred bidders for Truphone, according to The Times.

However, his rivals are worried about Koc’s ties to Frolov, as his used car market, Auto1, received funding from a company run by Frolov’s son.

Koc would own 90% of Truphone while his partner, a former telecommunications executive and private equity investor, Pyrros Koussios, would own 10% of the company, the The Financial Times reported. Truphone provides electronic SIM cards for businesses and individuals.

Abramovich had to sell Chelsea FC after being hit with Western sanctions during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The $5.3 billion deal has been finalized last month to a group led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly and investment firm Clearlake.

Abramovich was once one of Russia’s richest oligarchs, worth an estimated $14 billion, but his wealth almost halved due to Western sanctions.

According to the report, the current owners of Truphone have pledged to invest more than $12 million and will assume certain contractual obligations, such as one-time payments and debts, including a $660,000 Federal Communications Commission fine related to misrepresentation of business ownership. .

People familiar with the deal said existing owners would receive up to a third of the funds initially invested, The Times reported. However, Abramovich will not receive the funds while he remains under sanctions.

Insider has reached out to Truphone for comment.

David C. Barham