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Saturday, November 7, 2009

BSNL may talk directly to Zain for stake buy

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) today said it may directly talk to Zain Telecom to acquire a controlling stake after the exclusive talks period between the consortium Vavasi and the Kuwaiti firm ends.

"Once the exclusivity period ends, we would like to look at it alone," BSNL Chairman Kuldeep Goyal said today.

Currently, Vavasi is in the exclusivity period for talks with Zain Telecom.

Goyal said, "We have asked certain information from the Vavasi. As and when the information is received, we will proceed accordingly."

BSNL has been cautitious about Vavasi which has approached BSNL and MTNL to be part of its consortium to acquire 46 per cent stake in Zain.

Goyal said if BSNL has to go directly, it would take MTNL along with it.

The Vavasi Group is looking for partners to buy a stake in Zain and has tied up with Malaysia's Al-Bukhary group. It is trying to rope in the two state-run Indian telecom operators to the consortium.

"We don't know Vavasi, so naturally if we want to go ahead with them, we have to do the due diligence. They are not our partners in the sense that we have signed any agreements," Goyal had earlier said.

In September, Kuwait's Kharafi Group, which holds at least a 20 per cent stake in Zain, invited small investors in the company to sell their shares as part of a proposed sale of a 46 per cent stake in a deal worth about $13.7 billion.

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