India’s largest mobile phone company, Bharti Airtel, has extended merger talks with the MTN Group in South Africa. The discussions were supposed to end July 31st.
The two firms are in talks for Bharti to take a 49 percent stake in MTN, while the South African company would get a 36 per cent stake in the Indian business.
According to the officials from the Brunswick Group, a communication group that talked to Business Times on behalf of the MTN Group, the discussions are to be extended for another one month.
“Shareholders are referred to the cautionary announcement and to the renewal of cautionary announcement released on SENS on 25 May 2009 and 6 July 2009 concerning discussions regarding a potential transaction between MTN and Bharti Airtel Limited,” a statement said.
”MTN and Bharti had entered into an exclusivity agreement regarding the potential transaction until 31 July 2009, the statement sent to the Business Times said.
The statement further added that shareholders are advised that the discussions between the parties regarding a potential transaction continue and that both parties agreed to extend the exclusivity period until up to 31 August 2009.
The official also announced that no decision or agreement to acquire any shares or implement the potential transaction outlined above has yet been made by the Boards of either MTN or Bharti and that the discussions may or may not lead to any transaction.
”The structure and terms of the potential transaction may be adjusted to reflect further discussions between the parties.
Shareholders are therefore advised to continue to exercise caution when dealing in MTN’s securities until a further announcement is made,” the statement said.
MTN Group was launched in 1994. It is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code:
“MTN”. The Group recorded 98,203,000 subscribers at 31 March 2009, touching the 100 million subscriber mark in April this year.