UPDATE 1-Kazakhtelecom seeks antitrust clearance to buy Kcell stake

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ALMATY, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan’s largest fixed-line telecommunications operator, Kazakhtelecom, has applied for permission to buy a 75 percent stake in London-listed mobile operator Kcell , Kazakhstan’s antitrust committee said on Tuesday.

The stake in question belongs to Nordic telecom operator Telia Company and Fintur, Telia’s joint venture with Turkcell. Telia has said it planned to sell its assets in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Moldova.

The antitrust committee said that it was reviewing Kazakhtelecom’s application in a written reply to questions from Reuters.

Kazakhtelecom, the country’s biggest mobile operator with a market capitalisation of about $1 billion, was not available to comment.

Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund has a 51.0 percent stake in Kazakhtelecom, part of which it plans to sell this year in its large-scale privatisation drive. (Reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by Vladimir Soldatkin and Louise Heavens)