MTN Group has entered discussions to acquire South African telecoms operator Telkom. The two companies said in separate press releases that ‘discussions are at an early stage and there is no certainty that the transaction will be consummated.’ The deal is likely to face regulatory hurdles, however, as it would effectively create a duopoly in South Africa’s mobile market. MTN is said to have made a bid for Telkom on at least two occasions in the past, dating back at least a decade.
Telkom South Africa’s shares are publicly traded on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Currently, the South African government holds a 40.5% stake in Telkom, making it the company’s largest shareholder by some distance, while the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) owns 13.39% of the company’s share capital; none of the other shareholders have more than 5% of the company.