MTN responds to SAT case in Bharti deal

MTN responds to SAT case in Bharti deal

Mumbai: As talks over the proposed $25 billion merger deal between Bharti Airtel Ltd and South African telecom firm MTN Group Ltd enter the final stages, legal proceedings linked to the transaction seem to be keeping pace.

MTN has responded to an appeal filed before the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) that a decision to exempt the firm from making an open offer would deny Bharti shareholders an exit option.

The two-member SAT bench observed on 11 August that both Bharti Airtel and MTN could be made parties in the shareholder appeal filed against the Securities and Exchange Board of India, or Sebi, the capital market regulator. Sebi has said MTN would be required to make an open offer only if it converts global depository receipts from Bharti Airtel into equity shares with voting rights.

The MTN response drafted by its legal advisers, the contents of which were reviewed by CNBC-TV18, says the appeal has been filed only to “somehow try and create an impediment to the transaction." The appeal had not yet been served on MTN, it said.

The next hearing of the case at SAT is scheduled for 28 August.