SK Telecom's net profit drops 57 percent in wake of Helio deal

SK Telecom saw its third quarter net profit drop by 57 percent, as it faced steeper marketing costs.

South Korea's leading mobile operator saw its net profit plunge to $228.5 million, down from $547.4 million last year. Sales increased 3 percent to $1.992 billion, up from $1.938 billion, but its operating profit dropped 6.1 percent.

The carrier also saw a quarter-on-quarter loss from its sale of flagging MVNO Helio to Virgin Mobile USA, which ocurred in late June. The deal closed at the end August.

As part of that deal, SK Telecom and Earthlink, which were the major shareholders of Helio, got 13 million shares of Virgin Mobile USA common stock, valued at $39 million. SK Telecom also invested $25 million, along with the Virgin Group, directly into Virgin Mobile USA, as part of the deal.  

In their official earnings release, SK Telecom said, "The QoQ decrease in equity in losses of affiliates was mainly due to decreased losses from the affiliates such as HELIO."

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