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MTN, Bharti shares rocket

By unknown | Oct 02, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

BHARTI Airtel and MTN Group's shares surged yesterday after the two telecoms groups failed to seal a $24billion (R180billion) tie-up.

BHARTI Airtel and MTN Group's shares surged yesterday after the two telecoms groups failed to seal a $24billion (R180billion) tie-up.

Analysts say any future attempts are likely to be viewed sceptically.

Talks between Bharti and MTN collapsed for the second time in just over a year over South Africa's reluctance to allow a flagship company to lose its national character.

The tie-up, which faced close scrutiny from regulators and politicians, could have led to a full-blown merger.

Shares in MTN jumped more than 6percent on the JSE while Bharti shares gained about 11,58percent in Mumbai the day after the talks collapsed. MTN shares rose on investor relief that the transaction will not go ahead, with many shareholders saying the stock was worth more than Bharti's offer.

MTN could pursue other M&A opportunities but shareholders would be reluctant to support it, Chris Wood, fund manager at Prudential Portfolio Managers that owns MTN shares, said.

"It's not clear what management's incentive to do the transaction was, but it certainly didn't appear that it was being done in the interests of all shareholders."

Additionally, MTN chief executive Phuthuma Nhleko has now presided over three failed deals in just over a year and shareholders might demand some answers from him.

"Shareholders are going to be particularly grumpy," Wood said.

"He hasn't done himself any favours, with this particular transaction having dragged on for the better part of four months in a period in which we've seen a very strong equity rally and (MTN's) share price, for all intents and purposes, has been capped."

Before MTN's rally yesterday, the firm's shares had only gained 4percent since the two groups announced their talks, compared with a 10,4percent rise in the JSE Securities Exchange's blue chip Top-40 index.

The rand fell over 1percent on Wednesday and extended the decline by a further 1,7percent yesterday to a near four-week low against the dollar. - Reuters


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