Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel is expected to ink a $10.7 billion deal with Kuwait- based Zain on Tuesday to acquire its African telecom operations, says a media report.
Once the deal is complete, Bharti Airtel would become the seventh largest telecom player in the world.
Kuwait’s Al-Watan daily on Monday reported that the deal signing ceremony would take place at the headquarters of Zain Africa, which is located in Amsterdam, on Tuesday.
According to the report, Zain’s Chairman Asaad al-Banwan, CEO Nabil bin Salama, Bharti’s Sunil Mittal and other senior officials would be attending the ceremony.
When contacted, a Bharti Airtel spokesperson said the company “has nothing to comment beyond what we have already announced.”
Last week, Bharti and Zain said that due diligence is over and the companies would soon sign definitive agreements in the coming days. The announcement came on March 25, the last day of the exclusive talks between the two companies for the transaction.
Quoting sources, the report said that the Zain chairman and CEO would return as soon as the agreement is signed, to hold a board meeting on Wednesday. The board meeting is expected to approve annual results of Zain.
With the acquisition of Zain’s African assets, excluding operations in Morocco and Sudan, the combined entity would have more than 165 million subscribers with total revenues worth $13 billion.
“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 said last week.
The signing of the final deal would fulfil Bharti’s long-standing dream of entering the African market, where it twice tried in vain to acquire MTN in as many years.
Bharti has already secured funding to the tune of $8.3 billion for the Zain deal. Once the transaction is complete, Bharti would be required to pay another $700 million to Zain after a year, while taking a load of $1.7 billion debt associated with the African assets.