In separate statements, India's Bharti Airtel and South Africa's MTN have confirmed that they are extending the deadline for their merger talks. The two companies had entered into an exclusivity agreement regarding the potential transaction until July 31, 2009. As discussions between the parties regarding the potential transaction are continuing, both parties have agreed to extend the exclusivity period up to August 31, 2009.
The statements noted that no decisions or agreement to acquire any shares or implement the transactions outlined above have been made by the Boards of either Bharti or MTN and the discussions may or may not lead to any transaction. The structure and terms of the potential transaction may be adjusted to reflect further discussions between the parties.
The merger talks could lead to a potential US$23 billion deal to create a new phone giant extending across Africa, the Middle East and into southeast Asia. Previous merger talks between the two companies broke down a little over a year ago.