MTN, Orascom end acquisition talks

10 Jun 2010

(MENAFN) South Africa’s MTN Group has ended negotiations with Egypt’s Orascom Telecom about a potential acquisition, giving away a deal that could have created the world’s third-largest mobile operator, Reuters reported.

In late April, Africa’s top mobile phone operator started negotiations about acquiring Orascom or some of its assets, but the Algerian government has complicated the deal, as it wanted to buy Orascom’s unit in that country.

Analysts said that without the money-spinning Algerian unit, Djezzy, the deal would have little meaning for MTN, which seeks to expand and needs a foothold in North Africa.

The failure highlights the political and regulatory risks facing potential deals in emerging markets where mergers and acquisitions of telecoms are at an all-time high.

MTN which needs to push beyond its key markets of South Africa, Nigeria and Iran, has failed to do a deal four times in the last three years.

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