Report: Russia's AFK Sistema in talks with FT for ownership swap

Russian financial holding company AFK Sistema is reportedly in significant negotiations with France Telecom (FT) aimed at exchanging a controlling stake in Russian operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) for a smaller interest in FT.

According to Russian newspaper RBC Daily, Sistema reportedly approached FT with the idea of buying the company outright. But according to the paper's sources, which it did not name, FT submitted a counter offer for MTS.

That rumour, however, has been denied by Sistema head Vladimir Yevtushenko. Despite the detailed negotiations, RBC Daily also indicated that Sistema is currently "talking to various players of the European market."

According to TeleGeography, AFK Sistema is the majority owner in MTS, and nearly half of the company is in free float. MTS voiced its interest earlier this year in creating partnerships with European operators.

For more:
- see this RBC Daily article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Telegeography article
- see this Bloomberg article

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