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Bharti sheds 2% as Etisalat signals interest in MTN

Bharti sheds 2% as Etisalat signals interest in MTN
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First Published: Tue, May 13 2008. 11 44 PM IST
Updated: Tue, May 13 2008. 11 44 PM IST
New Delhi: A day after Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (Etisalat) confirmed that it was examining a potential bid to acquire African phone firm MTN Group Ltd, financial analysts said Bharti Airtel Ltd will likely have to outbid Etisalat in order to gain a foothold in the lucrative African telecom market.
“Etisalat is known to be an aggressive bidder, and with them joining the race to acquire MTN, Bharti might have to offer $23 (Rs970.60) or even more for each MTN share, up from around $21 it is considering now,” said a Mumbai-based telecom analyst, who did not wish to be identified. ‘Financial Times’ last week had reported that Bharti Airtel had offered to buy a majority stake in MTN at $21.7 a share, valuing the target at some $37 billion.
On Tuesday evening, a Bharti Airtel spokesperson denied making any bid for MTN. “Bharti would like to clarify that it has not made any ‘bid’ nor is there any requirement to make a ‘bid’, as has been incorrectly speculated and reported,” the spokesperson said in an email statement.
A person familiar with the merger talks had told ‘Mint’ on Friday that he expected an early structure of a bid to emerge this week. The person had requested anonymity.
Exploring international markets for future growth has been on Bharti’s agenda in recent years. Since December 2006, it has made unsuccessful bids for a mobile licence in Bhutan and Saudi Arabia, apart from showing interest in a 51% stake in Telkom Kenya Ltd in June last year, which was ultimately won by Vodafone Group Plc.
Shares of Bharti Airtel closed Tuesday trades at Rs821.25 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, down 2.03%.
New i-bankers team at Barclays Capital
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First Published: Tue, May 13 2008. 11 44 PM IST