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March 30, 2010

Bharti Airtel to acquire Zain Africa for $9bn

Acquisition to expand its operations across 18 countries with total customer base of 179 million

By CBR Staff Writer

Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile phone operator by subscribers, said that it has agreed to acquire the African assets of Kuwait’s mobile telecommunications company Zain Group for $9bn in cash.

Under the transaction, $8.3bn will be paid upon closing and $0.7bn will be paid one year from closing. In addition, Bharti Airtel will also assume $1.7bn of consolidated debt obligations.

Bharti said that it will acquire Zain’s African mobile services operations in 15 countries with a total customer base of over 42 million, excluding its operations in Morocco and Sudan. The acquisition is expected to transform Bharti Airtel as the world’s fifth largest wireless company with operations across 18 countries.

Bharti group’s global telecom footprint will expand to 21 countries along with the operations in Seychelles, Jersey and Guernsey. The acquisition will increase Bharti’s total customer base to around 179 million in 18 countries.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director of Bharti Airtel said: “We are excited at the growth opportunities in Africa, the continent of hope and opportunity. We believe that the strength of our brand and the historical Indian connect with Africa coupled with our unique business model will allow us to unlock the potential of these emerging markets.

“We are committed to partnering with the governments in these countries in taking affordable telecom services to the remotest geographies and bridging the digital divide. I would also like to compliment the Zain group for building world-class operations in Africa and we have enjoyed working with them on this transaction.”

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