29 Jul 2009 16:47

FAS clears MegaFon to purchase Synterra

MOSCOW. July 29 (Interfax) - The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has cleared MegaFon to acquire 100% of shares in Synterra, the FAS told Interfax.

MegaFon filed with the FAS in May.

Examination of the filing was suspended for a time because Rusmediacenter LLC, in which Synterra owns a 52% stake, holds data encryption licenses. In July Rusmediacenter filed to annul those licenses.

MegaFon is the only one of the "big three" mobile operators without access to fixed-line assets. VimpelCom acquired Golden Telecom last year and Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) is preparing to purchase its sister company, Comstar-UTS.

MegaFon General Director Sergei Soldatenkov said previously that the company is ready to spend about $500 million to acquire a fixed-line operator this year.

Comstar-UTS is also interested in acquiring Synterra and is currently conducting due diligence on the company. That will be completed by August, a Comstar representative told Interfax earlier.

VimpelCom is another potential contender for Synterra. Alexander Torbakhov, VimpelCom's general director, said the company was potentially interested in Russian acquisitions, but that price would be the determining factor.