Bharti-MTN deal deadline ends Wednesday


The South African government is expected to take a decision on the much-awaited $23-billion Bharti-MTN telecom equity swap cum strategic alliance Tuesday, a day before the deadline ends Wednesday.

Bharti Airtel and MTN in South Africa has been in negotiations since the 25th May - after the two talks ended last year with a large Indian Telecom rejects the proposal, which has become a subsidiary of MTN.

MTN South African government must nod to go ahead with the deal, the state-owned Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has about 20 percent of the shares in the company.

The Indian government has given a green signal to the merger with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has promised full support.

"I had mentioned the president (Jacob) Zuma. I sincerely hope that this agreement goes forward," the prime minister at a press conference in Pittsburgh on Friday night when asked whether he had taken up the matter with the leaders of South Africa.

"I hope that Indian companies will not be subjected to discriminatory treatment," said Manmohan Singh in relation to regulatory obstacles, both in India and South Africa that have emerged in the middle of the operation.

In South Africa wants a dual listing of its shares in Bharti MTN for agreement between telecommunications companies to pass, while India does not permit such a list, since it corresponds to capital account convertibility.

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said recently that it is necessary to make an open offer to existing shareholders would occur even if 15 percent or more of the assets of the target company was acquired by the global floating issues depository receipts.

Previously it was understood that an open offer to existing shareholders is required only if 15 percent or more of the ordinary shares - carried out in the country - is being taken over by the potential strategic partner or investor.

In the proposed agreement Bharti is planning to hold 49 percent stake in MTN, while the South African telecom major plans to acquire 36 percent of its share capital in India - 25 percent .

In a recent statement, Bharti said it would seek an exemption from the takeover norm and that the deal would be compliant with all the norms that have been put in place in India and South Africa.


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