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Friday, March 26, 2010

Bharti hopes to sign deal with Zain in next 10 days

Bharti today said it hopes to sign the $10.7-billion deal to acquire the African assets of Kuwait's telecom firm Zain in the next 10 days. "Hopefully," said Bharti Enterprises Vice Chairman and Managing Director Rajan Bharti Mittal when asked whether the agreement with Zain would be inked in next 8-10 days."Zain board has accepted our offer.

Our board has approved it. The exclusivity ended and now we have few days to complete the exercise. Definitive agreements have to be signed," he said.March 25 was the deadline set for exclusivity.

He said the due-diligence is almost in the last stage to acquire the African assets of Kuwait-based Zain Telecom and thereafter the process has to follow.

Yesterday, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel had said, "Bharti is now working with Zain towards finalising the definitive agreements which would address all key terms and findings arising out of the due diligence."

Bharti Enterprises is the holding company of Bharti Airtel.

The deal, once happens, will pave the way for one of the largest telecom cross-border deals and will give Bharti access to 15 African countries at one go. The two businesses combine will have more than 165 million subscribers with total revenue of $13 billion.

Bharti has been keen on entering the African market. In the past two years, it has twice attempted a merger with South Africa-based MTN. The efforts, however, did not succeed due to structural issues.

Bharti Airtel on March 21 announced tying up of $8.3 billion debt for the proposed acquisition which was over-subscribed with major international banks committing to underwrite the total amount.

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