According to Interfax, MegaFon – Russia’s second largest cellco by subscribers – is interested in acquiring regional mobile operator New Telephone Company (NTK) from its South Korean owner KT Corp. NTK is reportedly the only telecommunications company operating in the Primorsky Krai, a region in the Far East of Russia which is bordered by China and North Korea, and often referred to as the ‘Maritime Province’. TeleGeography notes that MegaFon is not the first firm to express an interest in NTK in recent months; in September 2010 it was reported that telecoms holding company Svyazinvest and mobile operator Vimpelcom were competing to acquire the cellco for a price-tag in excess of USD350 million.
In November 2010 KT Corp hired Credit Suisse to manage the sale of the unit, and an increased price-tag of USD500 million was mooted for KT’s 80% share. In February 2011 Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) confirmed that it had submitted a bid for NTK, one of a rumoured four offers. As at the end of December 2010 NTK reported 1.5 million wireless subscribers, making it the tenth largest mobile operator in Russia.