Bharti-MTN deal: Deadline nears, future uncertain

Written by: Super Admin
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New Delhi, Sep 30: The deadline for exclusive talks for a $24 billion tie-up between Indian telecoms firm Bharti Airtel and South Africa's MTN Group would end on Wednesday, Sep 30, although no clarity was provided regarding the progress of the deal.

India's 'Financial Chronicle" newspaper reported that an unnamed finance ministry official said that Bharti requested for  two more weeks to discuss with MTN.

Bharti and MTN revived merger talks in May 2009, a year after previous negotiations failed as to who would be the giant in managing more than 200 million customers across India, Africa and the Middle East.

Initially the talks were supposed to end on Friday, July 31.

But till now, twice the discussions were extended.

Bankers and analysts expected that Wednesday, Sep 30, would see another extension or the deal would be abandoned.

"The political and regulatory issues related to the deal are expected to result in a further extension of the deadline for exclusive talks," Indian brokerage First Global said in a note.

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