Russian wireless carrier Megafon confirmed plans on Tuesday to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of 20% of its shares that is expected to rank as the world’s largest IPO since the Facebook floatation in May. Currently, the majority owner of Megafon (50% plus one share) is AF Telecom, a venture controlled by Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov. Another 35.6% of Megafon is held by TeliaSonera of Sweden, with the remaining 14.4% held by the company as treasury stock. In documents filed with Russia’s financial markets regulator, Megafon requested authority to list up to 123 million shares, comprising a 19.9% stake, on the Moscow exchange and in London via global depositary receipts. An executive of Megafon, which is one of four Russian carriers to receive a license in July to provide fourth-generation broadband wireless services, declined to comment on the IPO date, admitting to reporters: “we . . . are still looking at what the market situation is.” Analysts have predicted that the IPO could raise as much as $4 billion. Observing that “the situation has certainly stabilized in Europe and sentiment has improved,” one banker summed up Megafon’s prospects as follows: “there should certainly be an appetite for anything that is large and liquid with reasonably stable cash flow and profits.”