Orascom calls time on talks with MTN

10 Jun 2010

Egyptian telecoms group Orascom Telecom has reportedly halted negotiations with South Africa’s MTN Group related to the latter’s possible acquisition of part, or all, of Orascom, according to itp.net. In a statement confirming that no further talks would take place between the two companies, Orascom said that the decision had been made ‘to terminate discussions in connection with the sale of certain of its operations as a result of the failure to reach a deal.’

In April 2010 the Egyptian group’s parent company, Weather Investments, revealed it had entered into discussions with MTN over a possible sale of Orascom and its subsidiaries. One potential barrier to any deal however swiftly threatened to derail the talks, with the Algerian government saying it would block any attempts by Orascom to sell local subsidiary Djezzy; with MTN actively seeking to expand its presence in North Africa it was believed that Orascom’s Algerian unit was crucial to any potential deal. As reported by CommsUpdate last month however, it was rumoured that Orascom was preparing to open negotiations with the Algerian government that could lead to the nationalisation of Djezzy. The development followed the news that the state had invoked pre-emption rights over the ‘entire capital’ of Djezzy in line with legislation that gives it the right of first refusal when a foreign owner wants to sell assets in the country.

Egypt, South Africa, Global Telecom Holding (GTH, formerly OTH), MTN Group, Optimum Telecom Algerie (Djezzy)