MTN Group eyes possible Asian acquisitions

13 May 2014

Emerging market mobile operator MTN Group reportedly plans to kick-start moves to expand its geographical reach in Southeast Asia, having to date focused on developing its footprint in Africa and the Middle East. Bloomberg cites sources close to the company as saying that the move into Asia will focus on harnessing its experience of marketing low-cost mobile services to end users. MTN Group reported a total to 210.065 million customers in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East by the start of April 2014. However, it is keen to expand its global footprint, and last year tried (unsuccessfully) to acquire a telecoms licence in Myanmar. Further, it has also been linked to a potential move for India’s Reliance Communications, although talks over a tie-up broke down in July 2013. At the time MTN was said to be sceptical about the ‘industrial logic behind a deal at a time when India is revising its telecoms mergers and acquisitions rules’. MTN was rumoured to be considering acquiring a 24% stake in Reliance, worth in the region of USD1.2 billion.

South Africa, MTN Group, Reliance Communications (RCOM)