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Government sets USD500m price tag on BeST stake

27 May 2008

The government of the Republic of Belarus says it would sell its stake in GSM operator Belarusian Telecommunications Network (BeST), but wants at least USD500 million for the company, Reuters reports citing the country’s Minister for Economy, Mikalay Zaychanka.

In April this year, Turkish mobile operator Turkcell reportedly agreed to buy a 75%-80% stake in BeST, with local press reports suggesting the transaction had been approved at ‘the highest political level’. Turkcell is looking to pay for the shares in three tranches, the last tranche maturity date coinciding with the first profit received by BeST. The state’s decision to sell to the Turkish firm is something of a blow to Russian mobile group Vimpelcom which had been hoping to enter the Belarusian mobile market. The operator, which trades under the Beeline banner, had long been considered in the front seat to acquire BeST having tracked the cellco since its inception in 2004.

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