According to the Economic Times of India, telecoms giant Bharti Airtel is in advanced talks with the Essar Group over a deal for Essar Telecom Kenya (yu). The newspaper has indicated that Bharti is willing to pay between USD70 million and USD75 million for the company, noting that a deal could be concluded within three months.
The development coincides with news that Essar is actively seeking a strategic partner to provide an immediate cash injection. yu CEO Madhur Taneja told Business Daily Africa: ‘We prefer the debt route but are open for a strategic partner who would be ready to infuse equity into the business. [Our] business would need infusion of USD100 million immediately and would need continuous injection, considering the plans to take business into new geographies and adding capacity into existing markets driven by increase in customers’. ‘
TeleGeography notes that Airtel is likely to favour an outright takeover over a strategic partnership; the company already has a presence in Kenya via Airtel Kenya, and antitrust concerns are likely to thwart attempts to take a minor stake in one of its rivals.