MOSCOW, July 25 (Reuters) - Megafon, Russia’s No. 2 mobile phone company, has obtained clearance from the country’s competition watchdog for a potential acquisition of rival Scartel, the regulator said on Thursday.
The Federal Anti-monopoly Service said in a statement on its website it granted MegaFon’s request to allow it to buy 100 percent of Scartel’s parent Maxiten Co Limited with conditions aimed at preserving competition in the mobile broadband market.
Scartel is majority-owned by Megafon’s main shareholder billionaire Alisher Usmanov.
Megafon CEO Ivan Tavrin in June confirmed reports that Megafon was in talks to buy Scartel, with which it already has a partnership, saying it was seeking the benefits of owning its network and spectrum.
He also said at the time that Usmanov would sell Scartel “at cost” if Megafon agreed a deal.
On Thursday, Megafon confirmed that it was considering a potential deal but said there was no certainty as to whether the transaction will proceed or when.
Megafon was one of four companies to win a 4G mobile licence in 2012 and is currently building its own network. Its partnership with Scartel, which already operates a 4G network, had allowed Megafon to start offering fast wireless internet services earlier than its peers MTS, Vimpelcom and Rostelecom.