India’s top mobile firm Bharti Airtel has received offers of financing from more than a dozen foreign banks to fund its merger with South African peer MTN, a leading business daily reported yesterday.
The companies extended their merger talks earlier this month and signaled a possible change in the terms of any partnership. A deal would create a new global telecom giant from the emerging world.
The Economic Times, which cited banking sources, said Bharti Airtel had received bids from 13 overseas banks from the US, Europe and Asia and financing had been offered on better terms than those offered a month ago.
The easing of the global financial crisis has made credit more accessible for companies, with banks willing to lend at lower interest rates than earlier in the year.
“Bharti will save at least 100 basis points due to the delay in the deal,” the report said, citing a senior unnamed banker.
The company is looking to raise about US$3 billion to US$3.5 billion in foreign currency and US$1.5 billion to US$2.0 billion in rupees, the report said.
Under an initial proposed deal, Bharti would be the biggest shareholder in the merged group, taking a 49 percent stake in MTN, while MTN shareholders would have an effective 36 percent stake in Bharti.
The proposed merged company would straddle Africa, Asia and the Middle East and have more than 200 million subscribers, US$20 billion in annual revenues and be the world’s third-biggest mobile operator by subscribers.
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