Time to bury the VIP deal

Now that even Naguib Sawiris is bearish on the prospect that his company Orascom Telecom will end up merging with Russian wireless giant Vimpelcom, the deal may be dead.

The Egyptian billionaire is being quoted as saying that the odds of a merger between his ORSTF (quote) and VIP (quote) are now 50/50 at best.

Since both controlling partners in VIP have already expressed strong reservations about the deal — and minority shareholders have voted with their feet, pushing shares down 6% since the first rumors emerged — the real question is who is still betting that it will happen. Management? Nobody?

Sawiris blames the threat that Algeria will nationalize ORSTF’s Algerian subsidiary before the deal closes for making the merger talks unravel.

In any event, if the deal does not go through, suddenly VIP has a lot of ground to make up. There could be a relief rally ahead here.