India’s largest mobile operator in private sector, Bharti on Friday said it hopes to sign the USD 10.7 billion deal to acquire the African assets of Kuwait-based Zain Telecom soon as it has completed the due diligence and is now working towards signing definitive agreements.
“Hopefully soon,” said Bharti Enterprises vice-chairman and MD Rajan Bharti Mittal when asked when the agreement with Zain would be inked.
However, he declined to give any time frame when asked if it could be signed in next 8-10 days. Hopefully soon was the only reply came from him.
“Zain board has accepted our offer. Our board has approved it. The exclusivity ended and now we have few days to complete the exercise. Definitive agreements have to be signed,” he said.
March 25 was the deadline set for exclusive talks between the two companies.
On Thursday, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel had said, “Bharti is now working with Zain towards finalising the definitive agreements which would address all key terms and findings arising out of the due diligence.”
Bharti Enterprises is the holding company of Bharti Airtel.
The deal, once happens, will pave the way for one of the largest telecom cross-border deals and will give Bharti access to 15 African countries at one go. The two businesses combine will have more than 165 million subscribers with total revenue of USD 13 billion.
The deal, if materialises, would place Bharti Airtel at seventh position in the top telecom firms in the world.
Bharti has been keen on entering the African market. In the past two years, it had twice attempted a merger with South Africa-based MTN. The efforts, however, did not succeed due to structural issues.
Bharti Airtel on March 21 announced tying up of USD 8.3 billion debt for the proposed acquisition, which was over-subscribed with major international banks committing to underwrite the total amount.