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Telekom Austria Buys 70% Stake in MDC

The Austria Telekom group said Wednesday it has agreed to acquire a 70% majority stake in Belarusian Mobile Digital Communication, or MDC, for 730 million euros ($1.03 billion).

Austria Telekom will buy the stake through a 70% holding in the company's full owner, Cyprus-based SB Telecom, a statement said. The acquisition is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities.

Austria Telekom also has an option to buy the outstanding 30% at a price of 320 million euros ($453.6 million) in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the statement.

MDC has about 2.8 million customers, giving it a 42% share of the fast-growing Belarus mobile telecommunications market.

Boris Nemsic, CEO of Austria Telekom, appeared pleased by the acquisition.

"The acquisition of MDC is the consistent execution of our strategy for profitable growth in Eastern and Southeastern Europe," Nemsic said. "It offers us an entry to the attractive telecommunication market in Belarus while the terms of the transaction once again underline our disciplined approach to expansion."

Austria Telekom said it will finance the 70% stake in SB Telecom using existing credit facilities.

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