State-owned Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has revealed that it plans to enter into direct talks with Zain to acquire a controlling stake in the Kuwaiti firm if the Vavasi-led consortium fails to clinch a deal with the West Asian operator. At present, Delhi-based group Vavasi is in exclusive talks with Zain to acquire a 46% stake in the cellular group for USD13.7 billion. Vavasi is hoping to collaborate with BSNL, along with sister company Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), over the acquisition, although reports on 2 September 2009 suggested the telco would prefer to exclusively partner MTNL and not a private player. ‘If the [exclusivity period with Vavasi] ends, and suppose the deal does not go through, and there is a possibility of us having a direct negotiation, we would like to do it,’ said Kuldeep Goyal, chairman of BSNL, before confirming that BSNL and MTNL would jointly approach Zain after the exclusivity period with Vavasi ends.
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