SK Telecom gets nod as preferred bidder for Hanarotelecom

SK Telecom, South Korea's largest mobile operator, has been named the preferred bidder for a controlling stake in broadband service provider Hanarotelecom, bid adviser Goldman Sachs, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

The Associated Press report said SK Telecom's bid price for 38.9% of Hanarotelecom wasn't disclosed, though local media have speculated it may have offered to buy the stake at 12,500 won ($14) a share.

That would value the deal at 1.14 trillion won ($1.25 billion), the report said.

Macquarie Group, Australia's largest securities firm, was the main loser. It had bid through its private equity fund based in Seoul and in conjunction with South Korea's National Pension Service and several other financial investors, the Associated Press report said.

Local media had put the Macquarie bid at 12,000 won ($13) a share. Macquarie declined to comment on the announcement by Goldman Sachs, it said.

Hanarotelecom is South Korea's second-largest broadband service provider. Its largest shareholding group, made up of US insurer American International Group, TPG Capital and TVG Capital Partners, is the seller of the stake.

SK Telecom will now begin three weeks of due diligence.