SK Telecom speaks out on Helio, Virgin Mobile merger rumors [Update]

There isn’t a whole lot to this one other than a quote from an SK Telecom official regarding the Helio and Virgin Mobile merger rumors. But it leads one to believe that the rumors are true. Make the decision for yourself, though.

An SK Telecom official said nothing has been decided yet, but the two companies are “seeking various ways that would be mutually beneficial.” “What is certain is that SK Telecom will never give up on Helio, our foothold for business in the U.S.,” he added.

Update: Reuters is confirming what was reported by the Chosun Ilbo earlier today.

“(SK Telecom) is currently exploring strategic opportunities for Helio and has engaged in preliminary discussions with Virgin Mobile USA with respect to such an opportunity,” SK said in a clarification statement.

Talks between SKT and Virgin Mobile are said to be in the preliminary stages and that it may not lead to anything in the end. It’s also unclear whether or not SKT will sell it’s stake in Helio to VM or that they would purchase VM.

“SK Telecom has an aggressive stance on expanding its operation in the United States,” said Hyundai Securities analyst Lee Shi-hoon. “They have money to invest. It could be that SK changed its focus to Virgin Mobile after the deal with Sprint Nextel did not work out.”