Bharti Airtel is finally set to make its mark on the African mobile business after the board of Zain voted to accept its $9 billion (€6 billion) offer for its African assets.
The acquisition of mobile operators in 15 countries would make Bharti the world’s seventh largest cellco, with 165 million subscribers, the Economic Times reported.
The price includes $1.7 billion in debt and comes just on the eve of today’s deadline the two parties set for an agreement.
Bharti has already lined up $8.5 billion in debt financing, and sources close to the deal said it could be finalized within several days because of this.
The carrier has twice unsuccessfully tried to woo South African-based MTN. Now it is one of MTN’s biggest competitors in the race to sign up customers in Africa’s fast-growing mobile markets.
Bharti’s stock closed at 306.80 rupees on Tuesday, down 3%, with investors anxious about the lack of detail over the deal.
“Uncertain valuations of the 3G licenses, coupled with added exposure to new markets, are concerns to investors,” said Dharmesh Mehta, MD-India Equities, Enam Securities, told the Economic Times.