Bharti Airtel and MTN talks collapse again due to dual-listing disagreement

TALKS between Indian operator Bharti Airtel and South African MTN Group to create the world&rsquo;s third-largest mobile operator collapsed for the second time in a year yesterday.<br /><br />Bharti, India&rsquo;s largest mobile operator, blamed the South African government for the latest breakdown in a deal which faced close scrutiny from regulators and politicians.<br /><br />South Africa was eager to retain MTN&rsquo;s national character and had approached Indian authorities to consider a dual-listed entity, a structure Indian law does not allow.<br /><br />&ldquo;We hope the South African government will review its position in the future and allow both companies an opportunity to re-engage,&rdquo; Bharti said.<br />Shares in MTN, Africa&rsquo;s biggest mobile operator by subscribers with a market value of about $31bn (&pound;19.3bn), fell on the news.<br /><br />Bharti and MTN revived talks in May, a year after previous negotiations broke down over who would control the resulting emerging markets giant with more than 200m customers across India, Africa and the Middle East.