Hungary boosts telecoms sector control with Yettel transaction

BUDAPEST, March 20 (Reuters) - Hungary has acquired an indirect minority stake in PPF Telecom group's Hungarian operator Yettel Magyarorszag through a share swap agreement, the government said on Monday, boosting Prime Minister Viktor Orban's control over the sector.

The deal follows an agreement by British telecom group Vodafone (VOD.L) to sell its Hungarian business to local IT company 4iG and the Hungarian state for a total cash consideration of 1.7 billion euros ($1.82 billion).

In power since 2010, nationalist Orban has expanded his government's influence in key sectors of the economy, such as energy, banking, the media and now telecoms.

"The transaction enhances the assets and participation of the Hungarian state in the strategically-important telecommunications sector," the Economic Development Ministry said in a statement.

"Apart from diversifying its investment portfolio further in the telecoms sector, the deal will also enable the state to more forcefully and efficiently contribute to the development of the industry," it said.

The ministry said the share swap deal was concluded between Corvinus Nemzetkozi Befektetesi Zrt and 4iG's Antenna Hungaria Zrt unit, providing an indirect minority stake for Corvinus in Yettel Magyarorszag.

($1 = 0.9327 euros)

Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Christina Fincher

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