Govt terms fall of Bharti deal part of game

The firm is likely to target small entities

Govt terms fall of Bharti deal  part of game

“You know sometimes amidst the big companies ... these deals become successful, sometimes these deals fail. This is part of the game, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told newspersons here.

Asked if the deal termination had political reasons more than legal issues, Mukherjee said “ I am not making any comment on this. I have stated you the fact.”  Sunil Mittal-led Bharti called off discussions with MTN citing the South African government’s rejection of the proposed merger structure. The deal failed as the Indian laws did not provide for dual listing of shares, which was being insisted by the South African government.
However the telecom analysts said the deal could be revived after running aground on South African government worries about preservation of the national character of MTN, seen as one of the country’s icon. Bharti, which has large global ambitions, said late Wednesday the South African government “had expressed its inability to accept” the deal “in the current form.

Fresh buys

But Bharti added it hoped the government would “review its position in the future and allow both companies an opportunity to re-engage”. The company also said that it would continue to explore the international expansion opportunities that are consistent with its vision and bring value to its shareholders.

It is also learnt that the Bharti may targets smaller and less ambitious than MTN, allowing the country’s largest mobile phone operator by subscribers to turn its sights on the pending auction of licenses for third generation, or 3G spectrum.

Bharti has been considering the acquisition of the Sri Lankan operations of Luxemburg-based Millicom International Cellular S.A. (MICC) in a deal which could be worth 100 million to 120 million dollars, sources said.

The company is also looking at buying into the assets of Kuwait’s Zain. A  46 per cent stake in Zain is up for a proposed sale to an Indian-Malaysian consortium for about 14 billion dollars, industry sources said.

DH News Service

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