India’s Bharti Airtel has revealed that its protracted negotiations with South African telecoms group MTN have been called off, with the planned tie-up between the two companies no longer seen as an option. According to the Economic Times, Bharti has blamed the inability of the South African government to accept the deal in its current form as the main reason for the breakdown of the talks. The operator has, however, said it hopes that the African nation may review its position in the future with a view to allowing the two companies to once more return to the negotiating table. Bharti also noted that it will continue to examine other international opportunities. MTN has yet to comment on the development.
It is thought that the major sticking point in the potential deal related to South Africa’s desire to retain what it termed MTN’s ‘national character’; it had called on the Indian authorities to consider a dual-listed entity, a structure that existing Indian regulations do not allow.