SingTel – BT

SingTel involved in Bharti-MTN bid talks: source

SINGAPORE Telecommunications Ltd is actively involved in potential takeover talks between India’s top mobile firm Bharti Airtel Ltd and South African operator MTN Group Ltd, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters yesterday.

‘SingTel is part of the team that is looking at issues together with Sunil and Akhil,’ the source said, referring to Bharti’s founder and chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal and joint managing director Akhil Gupta.

The source said it was premature to speculate if SingTel – Bharti’s largest shareholder with over a 30 per cent stake – would provide any form of financial support to Bharti for a bid, as the deal was evolving.

‘It depends on the final structure of the deal. Valuations are not firm. It may be the case that no financial support is needed. There are no details at this stage. It’s a very complex deal,’ said the source, who declined to be identified because the details were not finalised.

SingTel, South-east Asia’s largest phone company, declined to comment.

Last Tuesday, SingTel confirmed that Bharti was in talks with MTN, after Bharti and MTN had said they were holding talks that may or may not lead to a deal. Bharti said separately it had not made any offer to buy all or part of MTN.

Goldman Sachs is advising SingTel on the negotiations, while Standard Chartered is advising Bharti, two people with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters.

SingTel, Singapore’s largest listed firm, derives about three-quarters of its sales and two-thirds of pretax earnings outside the city-state. — Reuters

Leave a Reply