Rostelecom is exploring the possibility of buying CTC Media, the Russian national commercial broadcaster backed by Modern Times Group (MTG).

Quoting a person close to one of the shareholders at CTC Media and a senior official at the state owned telco, Vedomosti reports that negotiations between the two are ongoing but still at an early stage.

However, Rostelecom is not the only party to have recently expressed an interest in CTC Media. Others include Alisher Usmanov and Ivan Tavrin, who together own the media holding YUTV.

CTC Media is required to transform its ownership structure due to new rules limiting foreign stakes in media companies to 20%. These come into effect at the beginning of 2016 and CTC Media is exploring all options, including a possible sale.

Rostelecom meanwhile took the strategic decision in 2013 to transform itself into a media company. Its aim is to become the country’s leading provider of pay-TV services and as of the end of 2014 it already had a 21% share of the market.

Last year it also entered into a joint venture with the state broadcaster RTR to establish a content company.