Bharti ties up funding for Zain deal as deadline for talks nears

TOP Indian telecoms firm Bharti Airtel said it has tied up the entire financing requirement of $8.3bn (£5.3bn) for its planned buy of Kuwaiti telecom Zain’s African assets, in a sign of progress as the deadline for talks nears.

Bharti and Zain are in exclusive talks until 25 March, marking the third time the Indian firm has tried to get its hands on a meaningful African business after two failed bids for South Africa’s MTN.

Bharti said yesterday the financing, which would be the largest acquisition loan for an Indian borrower, was oversubscribed, with major international banks committing to underwrite the total amount.

Bharti would pay a total $9bn for acquiring Zain’s assets in 15 African countries, and will also assume $1.7bn of debt on the target firm’s books.