After months of negotiations, Bharti Airtel of India is reported to have finally concluded its acquisition of Zain. The new owners have also made a statement to the effect that Chief Oba Otudeko will be appointed as Chairman of the Nigerian operations.
Airtel is the largest cellular service provider in India, with more than 135 million subscriptions as of May 2010, the world’s third-largest, single-country mobile operator and sixth-largest integrated telecom operator.
New Delhi, June 8, 2010: Bharti Airtel Limited (“Bharti”) today took a giant step towards becoming a global emerging market telecom operator by completing the acquisition of Zain Group’s (“Zain”) mobile operations in 15 countries across Africa for an enterprise valuation of USD10.7 billion. With this acquisition, Airtel will become the first Indian brand to go truly global with a footprint that covers over 1.8 billion people. Bharti also becomes a major Indian MNC with operations in 18 countries across Asia and Africa with a customer base of over 180 million.
The transaction is the largest ever cross-border deal in emerging markets and will result in combined revenues of over USD 12.4 billion and EBITDA of over USD 4.7 billion, based on the last audited results. Bharti is now among the five largest mobile operators in the world.
Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti said, “We are delighted at the closure of this transformational deal for India and Bharti. We would like to express our deep gratitude and thank the governments of all the fifteen countries as well as the government of India for their overwhelming support to this landmark event. This will further strengthen the historic Indo-Africa economic & social ties and provide a big boost to South-South cooperation.
Bharti, which has been working towards its vision of expansion into Africa, is committed to contributing to the growth of telecom in the region by taking networks deep into these countries and providing affordable services that touch the common man. We also promise our customers in Africa a superior brand experience and a portfolio of innovative products & services.
We would like to welcome over 6500 talented and highly qualified professionals to the Bharti family and look forward to working with them to take these operations from strength to strength. We would like to thank the Zain team for their professionalism, which enabled us to close this transaction in a record time.”
Mr. Asaad Al-Banwan, Chairman, Zain, said “We wholeheartedly wish Bharti Airtel great success in continuing the development of telecommunications across the African continent, and we are confident that the people of Africa will welcome such a committed and reputable telecom powerhouse.”
Bharti’s acquisition of Zain’s African mobile services operations covers 15 countries with a total customer base of over 42 million. The total population base covered is over 450 million with telecom penetration of approximately 32%. The countries in which Bharti has acquired the operations are – Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Zain is the market leader in 10 of the 15 countries and second in 4 countries.
It looks like we will soon be saying “Hello” to Airtel Nigeria. Sigh. Looks too like the 4th Revision of my Guide to Mobile Internet in Nigeria won’t be too long coming as well.