Bharti Airtel pulls out of merger talks with MTN

26 May 2008

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) Bharti Airtel has called off merger talks with South Africa's largest mobile phone network operator, MTN Group, a company statement said.

Bharti Airtel said it was pulling out of talks with MTN because the South African firm had presented a different merger structure from what had been agreed to earlier this month.

Nozipho January-Bardill, a MTN spokeswoman, said the company would brief shareholders this week.

'In line with regulatory obligations, MTN will update shareholders as the market opens on Monday morning,' she told The Associated Press.

Discussions were held with MTN until Friday without a breakthrough, Bharti Airtel said.

'This new structure envisages Bharti Airtel becoming a subsidiary of MTN and exchange of majority shares of Bharti Airtel held by the Bharti family and Singtel, in exchange for a controlling stake in MTN,' the statement said.

'Bharti's vision of transforming itself from a homegrown Indian company to a true Indian multinational telecom giant, symbolizing the pride of India, would have been severely compromised and this was completely unacceptable to Bharti,' the statement said.

© 2008 The Associated Press

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