Russian national operator Rostelecom has hired investment banks JPMorgan and Credit Suisse and accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to advise it on a possible joint venture with local mobile operator Tele2 Russia, Vedomosti has reported. The preferred option is likely to be a joint venture controlled by Rostelecom. A spokesman for the telco commented: ‘We confirm that we are working with consultants on the question of strategy for the mobile business and different scenarios for development. We are not commenting on details’.
Speculation that Rostelecom would make an approach for Tele2 Russia has been rife since state-controlled bank VTB acquired the Swedish-owned cellco for USD3.6 billion in April this year. Expectations of a tie-up increased further when Alexander Provotorov, a former Rostelecom executive, was appointed to run Tele2 Russia.