Bharti-MTN deal not finalized yet, says minister

Bharti-MTN deal not finalized yet, says minister
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First Published: Thu, Jul 30 2009. 01 10 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Jul 30 2009. 01 10 PM IST
New Delhi: Talks between between Bharti Airtel and South Africa’s MTN that could eventually lead to a full merger of the two firms have not been finalised yet, corporate affairs minister Salman Khurshid said on Thursday.
“No sir,” corporate affairs minister Salman Khurshid said in a written reply to a question in parliament on whether the deal had been finalised or signed.
The minister noted any proposal to change the equity shareholding of the company would need government approval.
Bharti and MTN revived merger talks in May, a year after previous talks broke down over who would control a merged entity. A merger would create an emerging markets giant with more than 200 million customers across India, Africa and the Middle East.
The exclusive talks over the deal, which would see MTN and its shareholders taking a 36% economic interest in Bharti and the Indian firm ending up with 49% in MTN, are due to end on 31 July.
Last week sources told Reuters the talks were likely to be extended by at least two to three weeks.
MTN’s second-largest investor said earlier this week the South African firm was likely to reach an agreement with Bharti by the end of August.
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First Published: Thu, Jul 30 2009. 01 10 PM IST