MTNL of India has joined the race to win a 51% stake in Kenya’s incumbent wireline operator Telkom. There are now at least eight firms which have expressed an interest in the government sale, with the other prospective bidders including France Telecom, BT, Telkom South Africa, Reliance, Tata/VSNL, Bharti Airtel and Alcazaar. The deadline for bids is 30 October, with the winner expected to be unveiled early next year. The new investor must commit to reducing its interest to 40% by selling off an 11% stake via an initial public offering (IPO). At the same time the government will offer another 19% interest to the public, leaving the state with 30%.