Wednesday 30 September 2009 8:00 pm

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’s third-largest mobile operator collapsed for the second time in a year yesterday.

Bharti, India’s largest mobile operator, blamed the South African government for the latest breakdown in a deal which faced close scrutiny from regulators and politicians.

South Africa was eager to retain MTN’s national character and had approached Indian authorities to consider a dual-listed entity, a structure Indian law does not allow.

“We hope the South African government will review its position in the future and allow both companies an opportunity to re-engage,” Bharti said.
Shares in MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile operator by subscribers with a market value of about $31bn (£19.3bn), fell on the news.

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.