Telekom Austria buys Belarusian MDC

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Telekom Austria, the country’s former state-owned telephone operator, has acquired Belarus’s second-largest mobile phone provider MDC for €1.05 billion ($1.49 billion), Telekom Austria said on Wednesday, cited by m&c.com.

The Telekom Austria Group went through with long-standing plans to enter the Belarusian market. In a first step, the Austrian firm bought 70% of MDC for a sum of €730 million. For the remaining 30%, Telekom Austria entered into a call and put option for Q4 of 2010 and is expected to pay around €230 million.

“The acquisition of MDC is the consistent execution of our strategy for profitable growth in Eastern and Southeastern Europe," Telekom Austria CEO Boris Nemsic said. "It offers us an entry to the attractive telecommunication market in Belarus while the terms of the transaction once again underline our disciplined approach to expansion.”

The deal was clinched after negotiations with MDC’s previous owner, Cyprus-based SB Telecom Limited, held by Syrian businessman Ead Samawi on Wednesday morning. MDC has a market share of approximately 42% in Belarus, with 2.7 million customers. The acquisition is still subject to the countries’ antitrust authorities.

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