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India’s Bharti in talks to buy stake in MTN

26 мая 2009

Bharti Airtel has renewed discussions for a merger with South Africa’s MTN to create an emerging market Indian-African telecom venture with revenues of about $20bn and subscribers of more than 200m.

The talks revive a deal that Bharti, India’s largest mobile operator controlled by billionaire entrepreneur Sunil Bharti Mittal, was forced to abandon last year after differences with the South African company over control.

“This potential transaction would combine the strengths of two leading emerging market telecom operators to create a … group serving the large populations of Asia, the Middle East and Africa,” a statement from Bharti to the Bombay Stock Exchange said.

The statement did not put a total value on the deal. But it said MTN would acquire 25 per cent of Bharti for a payment of $2.9bn in cash as well as new shares equivalent to 25 per cent of its existing share capital.

Bharti would buy 36 per cent of MTN’s existing shares with a cash payment of 86 rand per share as well as 0.5 Bharti shares (in the form of global depository receipts that would be listed in Johannesburg) for every MTN share acquired.

This would take Bharti’s interest in MTN to 49 per cent. Bharti would be given “substantial participatory and governance rights” that would enable it to consolidate MTN’s accounts.

The new terms of the revived deal appear aimed at making the transaction look like a merger of equals to satisfy South African political sensitivities about selling off a national champion.

When the first round of talks between Bharti and MTN fell through last year, India’s number two mobile operator by subscribers, Reliance Communications, stepped into the fray with a rival offer.

But Reliance Communications was thwarted after a legal dispute with between its owner, billionaire industrialist Anil Ambani, and his elder brother, Mukesh Ambani.

Standard Chartered and its affiliate First Africa are the financial advisors on the transaction, Bharti said.


Источник: Financial Times

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