Just as we’ve been reporting several times before, rumors of Bharti Airtel International sale off have become strong and today we get an official stand on the issue. The French based Telecom, Orange has sent an official press release confirming the long standing rumors. As of the beginning of this week, Orange and Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV have entered into an exclusive agreement to explore the possible acquisition by Orange of Airtel’s French speaking subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone. It should however be noted, there is no certainty of any binding agreement as a result of these discussions.
With this agreement, we definitely see Orange in turn handing over its English speaking affiliates in Africa like in Kenya to Airtel which has been a tough sale for them due to Kenya’s strong government regulations. Airtel has been seeking a buyer for the assets, which could be sold as a whole unit, or broken up into several pieces and sold to different buyers. Potential buyers included MTN, Orange, Vodafone/Vodacom, Millicom and Etisalat who be interested in various asset.