Belarus cuts MTS venture stake price to $863 million

MINSK Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:13am EST

A man walks past a MTS shop in St.Petersburg March 18, 2013. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

A man walks past a MTS shop in St.Petersburg March 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk

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MINSK (Reuters) - Belarus has cut the price of its 51 percent stake in a mobile joint venture with Russian group MTS (MBT.N) as it scheduled a new attempt to sell the asset for February 6.

Belarus set a starting price of $863 million for the controlling stake in its biggest mobile operator, the country's state property committee said on Wednesday, compared with $1 billion it sought previously.

The committee is accepting bids through February 5, it said.

MTS, which owns the other 49 percent in the venture, had earlier expressed interest in buying out the Belarussian state, but considered the price too high. It declined to comment on Wednesday when asked if it would bid in the February auction.

(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky and Anastasia Teterevleva; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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