According to the Interfax news agency, Russia’s state-owned telecoms holding company Svyazinvest has completed its appraisal of a number of regional operators, with a view to purchasing stakes in the companies. As such, the largest asset that Svyazinvest will acquire is a 21.78% stake in Central Telegraph, which offers a comprehensive portfolio of services in and around Moscow. The holding, which has been valued at RUB1.33 billion (USD40.46 million), means that Central Telegraph’s total market value is over RUB6 billion. 10.6% of the stake in question has reportedly been acquired from Gavorra Services, although the identity of the other party divesting its stake remains unknown.
Established in 1852 as Moscow’s very first telegraph station, Central Telegraph offers fixed voice telephony, broadband access and IPTV in Moscow and its surroundings, with the telco expected to target its existing subscriber base with its new MVNO service. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the company was one of the few telecoms assets not consolidated by national operator Rostelecom during its April 2011 ‘mega-regional merger’. 51% of the company was acquired by Svyazinvest in late-2010, but previous attempts at integrating the lucrative unit into Rostelecom’s central operation have proven unsuccessful. More recently, in October 2011, Rostelecom lodged an ultimately unsuccessful RUB1.2 billion bid for Svyazinvest’s controlling stake in the telco, suggesting the company’s market value has increased significantly during the ensuing six months. It remains unclear whether Svyazinvest intends to transfer the assets to Rostelecom.