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MTN said to be in talks to Buy stake in Idea

Few months or weeks ago, there were news doing the rounds of Indian Telecom industry that Etisalat is in talks for some strategic alliance or buyout with either Idea or RCom. Now another set of news has surfaced that says, MTN is in talks to Buy stake in Idea. South Africa’s MTN is so eager to enter the Indian Telecom market that after failed talks with RCom & Bharti Airtel last year, it is said to be in talks with Idea Cellular.

The majority shareholder in Indian mobile network, Idea Cellular, Aditya Birla Group is reported to be in talks with MTN over a possible sale of a stake in the company. Aditya Birla Group needs funds for their Energy business and recent tariff wars & scam have made this space not more interesting. It is also said that apart from MTN , Idea Cellular is also in talks with telecommunications companies in the U.S. and Europe.

The Birla Group owns 47% of Idea Cellular, with 19% held by Malaysia’s Axiata Group and the remainder free floated. Also the recent licence cancellations notices and penalties have made Axiata Group think over their stake in the company. Sources say even the Axiata Group want to exit the company soon. Any deal with MTN would likely involve a mix of cash and shares, said one of the sources.

Also, there has been some news about some partnership or alliance or even merger among Uninor and MTS in India. Tough nobody has confirmed this, but the way things are going in Telecom Industry we might see many new alliances or partnerships soon.

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