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February 3, 2013

Chelsea FC owner acquires 23% stake in UK-based Truphone for £70m

Investment marks Abramovich's first in the telecoms market

By CBR Staff Writer

Chelsea football club (FC) owner Roman Abramovich has acquired a 23.3% stake in the UK based global mobile VoIP provider, Truphone for £70m, which values the firm at around £300m.

The new funds will be used to expand its businesses in the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Poland, Germany and Spain in 2013 and is also currently negotiating with carriers in other countries to purchase capacity on their networks.

Additionally, the funds are also aimed at adding 500 more employees over the next 18 months, mostly to be based in the UK, as well as doubling the size of its customer base during the next 12 months.

Truphone chief executive Steve Robertson said that the funding will enable the firm to continue to bring the promise of a mobile phone service without international borders into new markets across the world.

"Our business is based on a global model, unique in mobile telecoms," Robertson said. "Staying connected is crucial to the way we live our lives – and the demand for connectivity is growing."

The telecom firm’s technology will allow international calling, which is aimed at businesses that enable a single SIM card to be assigned multiple local numbers, including a US and UK number, at local rates, while avoiding roaming charges for voice and data services.

Commenced operations in 2006 as the mobile equivalent of Skype, the firm has partnered and supported services of other VoIP providers with its client.

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Following the funding round, Evraz group chairman Alexander Abramov stake will be reduced to 60% from existing 80% in Truphone.

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