Bharti-Zain deal threatened by African govts

Dylan Bushell-Embling
22 Apr 2010

Bharti Airtel is facing resistance from an increasing number of African nations over its proposed $9 billion acquisition of Zain's African operations.

Bharti Airtel and the Tanzanian government have entered negotiations related to the latter's stake in Zain Tanzania.

Zain's African operations include Zain Tanazania, in which the government owns a 40% stake.

“The government is keen to know the future [of Zain Tanzania when Bharti is] the new majority shareholder,” Tanzanian finance and economy minister Mustafa Mkulo toldBloomberg.

Mkulo did not elaborate on the specifics of the discussions.

In another potential threat to the deal, the Republic of Congo this month asserted that it has the right to block the transfer of Zain's operator license to Bharti, because it was not consulted on the deal – a violation of local laws.

The Gabon government has also objected to the deal.

Zain's African operations span a further 12 nations – Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, DRC, Niger, Madagascar and Chad.

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