London: India’s top mobile operator Bharti Airtel has made a 19-billion-dollar bid for acquiring a 51 per cent stake in Johannesburg-listed telecom firm MTN, UK daily Financial Times has said.
Bharti Airtel has tabled an indicative bid for 51% of equity in MTN at about 165 Rand a share, which would value the South African company’s entire equity at around $37 billion, the report stated.
Bharti Airtel has secured 12 billion dollars of financing from Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered, it said. “The two investment banks have each pledged to underwrite six billion dollars of the amount that Bharti will need to purchase the controlling stake, people close to the situation said,” the FT said in the article posted on its website.
Bharti is expected to fund the balance by issuing equity, either directly to MTN shareholders or institutions, it added.
The report also quoted Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal as saying that the company was delighted that MTN had chosen to talk to them.
“It confirms Airtel’s standing in global telecoms, but whether it will lead to anything, I don’t know,” Mittal said.
However, Mittal denied that Bharti Airtel could face any difficulty in raising the funds required for a bid on this scale in choppy capital markets.
“I have been overwhelmed by the kind of response we have had from the banks,” Mittal was quoted as saying in the FT report.