According to Reuters, Russian telecoms giant Rostelecom has acquired a 39.9% stake in regional market leader Bashinformsvyaz for RUB3.64 billion (USD131.1 million). The deal is effectively a continuation of Rostelecom’s strategy to strengthen market positions in regions where it has a limited presence, following the completion of its so-called ‘mega-regional merger’, which saw the company absorb the operations of seven regional subsidiaries affiliated to parent company Svyazinvest. The stake in Bashinformsvyaz was acquired from parent company Bashtelekominvest; other key shareholders are believed to include the government of Bashkortostan (17.84%) and the Russian government (via the Federal State Property Management Agency, 28.24%).
In late 2010 Russian president Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree to transfer the government’s stakes in a number of telecoms companies – including Bashinformsvyaz – to state-controlled holding company Svyazinvest. As previously noted, Svyazinvest has subsequently transferred its telecoms assets to national operator Rostelecom. Bashinformsvyaz is reportedly the largest telecoms operator in the oil-rich Republic of Bashkortostan, which is located between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains, some 1,200km east of Moscow. Bashinformsvyaz currently claims around one million fixed-line subscribers, 251,000 broadband customers and 32,000 pay-TV users.