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FPT eyes Mekong Net stake

VIETNAMESE internet provider FPT Telecom is negotiating with Mekong Net to acquire up to 60 percent of the firm, its owner and CEO Sok Channda said yesterday.

“We have agreed to cooperate,” the Mekong Net chief said, while emphasising that no deal has yet been struck.

FPT has expressed its interest in acquiring between 40 percent and 60 percent of Cambodian internet service provider Mekong Net, according to Sok Channda, but a deal would hinge on the value the Vietnamese firm would bring to the business.

“We’ve not answered yet if we want to sell,” she said.

Mekong Net would look at the personnel FPT Telecom could provide in technical and management fields before making a decision on a deal, she said.

She cited experience partnering with foreign firms through Angkor Net, a Cambodian ISP that she founded.

“Before, Angkor Net partnered with a Singaporean company, but [business progressed] very slowly,” she said.

No price tag had yet been discussed, as Mekong Net had not yet been valuated, she said.

FPT Corporation’s Vietnam-based public relations department did not return a request for comment on the deal yesterday, but a Cambodia-based representative of the firm said its telecom wing plans to have a domestic presence by the end of the year.

“FPT Telecom will be opening a branch office soon, and they have plans to invest a lot of money at the end of this year or early next year,” FPT Information System’s Cambodia chief representative Nguyen Trung Bac said Tuesday.

He said his knowledge on the move was limited as he was an employee of a separate wing of parent company FPT Corporation.

Together, Sok Channda said, Angkor Net and Mekong Net have the largest bandwidth for operation among the Kingdom’s ISPs and are the second-largest ISP by subscriber numbers next to Online.

Vietnam Business News reported earlier this week that FPT Telecom was looking to start a mobile service in the Kingdom. It said FPT Telecom intended to spend between $6 million and $10 million in Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh.

However, many Cambodian industry experts and government officials said when contacted by a reporter that they had no knowledge of such a plan.

Spokeswoman Nguyen Thi Thanh Nga confirmed that FPT Telecom was involved in discussions with Cambodia’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications when contacted on Tuesday, but declined to clarify the nature of the discussions.

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