Comstar Jumps on Report of Mobile TeleSystems Merger

OAO Comstar Mobile Telesystems, the telephone and Internet company controlled by AFK Sistema, climbed in Moscow trading after a report that OAO Mobile TeleSystems (MBT) will buy a controlling stake.

Mobile TeleSystems, Russia’s biggest mobile-phone company and also controlled by Sistema, will file a request to Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly service for the purchase soon, Vedomosti said, citing two unidentified managers close to Sistema. The decision on “consolidation of the two companies” will be made in the near future, Vsevolod Sementsov, a spokesman at Sistema, said today by telephone from Moscow. Mobile TeleSystems spokeswoman Irina Osadchaya declined to comment.

Comstar rose 7.3 percent to 150.25 rubles on the Micex Stock Exchange.

The consolidation of Comstar into Mobile TeleSystems is “strategically favorable for the companies taking into account the fact that integrated telecom operators should dominate the telecom market in the long term,” analysts led by Konstantin Chernyshev at Uralsib Financial Corp. in Moscow, wrote in a note today. “Sistema could improve its liquidity” by selling Comstar’s stake to Mobile TeleSystems, they said.

Sistema, controlled by billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, will decide on a potential purchase of Comstar by Mobile TeleSystems by the end of the second quarter, Sistema Chief Executive Officer Leonid Melamed said April 29.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Mauldin in Moscow at wmauldin1@bloomberg.net; Maria Ermakova in Moscow at mermakova@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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