Bharati, MTN restart $23bn merger talks

CIOL Bureau
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NEW DELHI, INDIA: Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel Limited said that it has restarted its effort for a significant partnership with South African telecom giant MTN Group Limited.


Bharti said the potential value of what is a complex deal in which both firms pay cash and stock for stakes in each other, was more than $23 billion.

If the discussion materializes, Bharti would acquire a 49 per cent shareholding in MTN and, in turn, MTN and its shareholders would acquire an approximate 36 per cent economic interest in Bharti, of which 25 per cent would be held by MTN with the remainder held directly by MTN shareholders, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

Bharti and MTN have agreed to discuss the potential transaction exclusively with one another until July 31, 2009, it added.


Once materialized, the transaction between Bharti and MTN would create a leading telecommunications service provider group with a combined revenues of over $20 billion and a combined customer base of over 200 million.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director of Bharti, said, "We are delighted at the prospect of developing a partnership with MTN to create an emerging market telecom powerhouse. Both companies would stand to gain significant benefits from sharing each other's best practices in addition to savings emanating from enhanced scale."

He said this opportunity also represented a first of its kind in developing an Indian-African initiative that would serve as a shining example of South-South cooperation.