MDC the likely target of Telekom Austria's acquisition plans in Belarus - report

VIENNA (Thomson Financial) - Mobile network operator Mobile Digital Communications (MDC) is the likely target for Telekom Austria Group AG's acquisition plans in Belarus, according to unnamed telecom sector specialists cited in Austrian daily Die Presse.

The purchase price for MDC would be higher than the 1.6 bln eur Telekom Austria paid for Bulgaria's MobilTel in 2005, Die Presse said, citing unnamed 'financial circles'.

MDC, whose 2.8 mln customers make it the second-largest network operator in Belarus, is said to be fully owned by Samauwi Brothers Telecom after the Belarusian government recently sold its 51 pct stake to the Cyprus-based company, the newspaper reported.

Martin Schlaff, a Vienna-based billionaire with a long-established track record in Eastern Europe, is rumoured to be involved in the negotiations between MDC and Telekom Austria, according to Die Presse.

Yesterday, Telekom Austria confirmed media reports it is in talks on a potential acquisition in Belarus but did not provide any additional details.