Rumour Mill: Russia's MTS bids for Telekom Austria

Despite strong denials from Telekom Austria and the Austrian government, industry chatter indicates that there is something going on between the giant Russian operator, MTS, and Telekom Austria.

Newspaper reports claim that, following an approach from MTS, an internal working group of six people has been set up within Telekom Austria to evaluate the bid. MTS is said to have made a firm offer for the company several weeks ago and is awaiting a formal response.

While no information has become apparent as to the scope of the offer, MTS could be less interested in Telekom Austria's more established fixed line business, but keen to acquire its operations in Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Serbia and Macedonia.

The Austrian Finance Minister, Josef Proell, has apparently requested Telekom Austria to examine how it might operate under the MTS umbrella and how the Russian operator would account for the infrastructure investment made by the Austrian telco.

The chairman of employee representatives has registered his annoyance to these rumours coming days after Telekom Austria had merged its fixed and wireless units.

For more on this story:
- read Wirtschaftsblat (German lang.) & Telegeography

Related stories:
Telekom Austria sees IPTV subscriber additions decline
3 Austria prepares for LTE launch in 2011
Nokia signs strategic pact with MTS

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