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Bharti-MTN extend talks period by a month till Sept 30

Last Updated: Thursday, August 20, 2009 - 13:20

New Delhi: Claiming that merger discussions with South African firm MTN are progressing "satisfactorily", Bharti Airtel on Thursday said that the period for exclusive talks has been extended by yet another month till September 30.

This is the second time this month that the period for exclusive talks has been extended.

"Discussions between the parties regarding the potential transaction continue to progress satisfactorily and the parties have accordingly agreed to extend the exclusive period until September 30, 2009," Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

"No decisions or agreement to acquire any shares or implement the transaction has yet been made by the boards of either Bharti or MTN and the discussions may or may not lead to any transaction," Sunil Mittal-run Bharti Airtel said.

This is the second time in a little over a year that Bharti has entered into negotiations with the South African telecom firm for a proposed share-swap and cash deal to merge the two companies to create a USD 23-billion entity.

Asked about the reasons for extending talks, a Bharti
spokesperson declined to comment.

At the time of the first extension earlier this month,
the company had said: "The structure and terms of the
potential transaction may be adjusted to reflect further
discussion between the parties."

As per the proposal, Bharti would acquire 49 percent in MTN and in turn MTN and its shareholders would acquire about 36 percent economic interest in the Indian firm.

Bharti and MTN had agreed to discuss the potential
transaction with one another until July 31, 2009. The
potential transaction will create a leading telecom service
provider with a combined revenue of over 20 billion dollars
and a customer base of over 20 million.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, August 20, 2009 - 13:20

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