S Korea's SK denies plans to buy Sprint Nextel

SK Telecom is not planning to buy a controlling stake in any major US mobile carrier, brushing off earlier reports that it was eyeing Sprint Nextel.

A Reuters report also said shares in SK Telecom, South Korea's top mobile company, have fallen since cable news CNBC reported on Tuesday that SK was negotiating to buy Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service.

Investors fear uncertainties from a possible deal in the US, where SK already posted sizeable losses over its mobile joint venture with EarthLink, analysts said.

Sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters that SK and Sprint were in preliminary talks about collaborating on technology and said there were no acquisition talks.

'We are studying various business opportunities in the US but are not seeking to take control in major US mobile operator,' SK, which had initially declined to comment, said in a filing to the local exchange.

It did not elaborate and company officials declined to comment when asked about partnership or small-scale investments, the Reuters report further said.

The Korea Exchange earlier requested SK to clarify media reports about the acquisition talk.

SK, which controls about half of the South Korean mobile market, is seeking growth overseas as competition intensifies in the saturated domestic market.

But Sprint, which has been struggling to stem customer losses, already rejected an earlier investment by SK and a group of private equity firms last year, sources previously said.

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