Updated: February 15, 2010 23:10 IST

Bharti Airtel dials Zain

Special Correspondent
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Chairman Bharti enterprises Sunil Bharti Mittal. File photo
Chairman Bharti enterprises Sunil Bharti Mittal. File photo

Eager on increasing its footprint globally, India’s leading mobile company Bharti Airtel has made an offer worth $10.7 billion to acquire the African operations of Kuwait-based Zain.

“Bharti Airtel and Zain have agreed to enter into exclusive discussions until March 25 for the acquisition of Zain’s African unit (Zain Africa BV) based on an enterprise value of $10.7 billion. This potential transaction does not include Zain’s operations in Morocco and Sudan,” Bharti Airtel said in a statement issued here on Monday.

“The deal remains subject to due diligence, customary regulatory approvals and signing of final transaction documentation. There can be no assurance that a transaction will be consummated,” it added. Zain’s board had already given the go-ahead to Bharti Airtel’s bid. Zain is a leading mobile and data services operator in the Middle East and Africa with presence in 23 nations and a customer base of over seven-crore. In Africa, it has operations in 17 countries with over 4.2-crore subscribers.

“We all believe that we would be welcomed in that continent (Africa). I am sure we will go and speak to the regulator and hopefully get the requisite permissions,” Bharti Enterprises Managing Director Rajan Mittal told journalists here.

During the exclusive agreement, Bharti would assess the financial parameters and other related issues, including regulatory norms that are needed to be in place for the deal.

If the deal goes through, Bharti will be among the top ten operators globally. In India, Bharti Airtel has over 12.5-crore subscribers.

This development follows Bharti Airtel’s recent acquisition of Bangladesh’s Warid Telecom.

It also has operations in neighbouring Sri Lanka.

Keywords: Bharti AirtelZaintelecom

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