Sep 29, 2009

Bharti, MTN to conclude talks on Sep 30

With the deadline for the exclusive Bharti-MTN talks expiring on Wednesday (September 30), more clarity on the mega deal is likely to emerge soon.

The future of the Bharti-MTN deal is set to be decided possibly within the next 48 hours. Sources say there is very little possibility of an extension. The reason being that the deal structure has already been frozen and both principals have sort of shaken hands quite a few days back. What was left pending was the approval from the South African government side and to that end there were extensive negotiations between the South African and the Indian authority. In a scheduled meeting of the MTN board on September 28 they may take into account all these varied inputs and once that happens, a decision is taken that will be crucial input towards some sort of announcement.

That apart, while it may not be okay to speculate about what exactly is going to happen, the facts that are available at this point of time seems to suggest that SingTel, which has a 30.5% stake in Bharti Airtel, will have a significant role to play in this transaction. There are according to our sources discussions going on separately between Bharti and SingTel. What is the purpose of those discussions, what the likely outcome is cannot be speculated at this point of time but Bharti has indicated in the past that it would be willing to look at a sweetener as and when the demand is made. It is already clear that some sort of increase in the cash outgo portion of the deal may happen.



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