India’s largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel is set to become a large global player, with the Zain board on Wednesday approving closure of the deal under which Bharti would buy Zain’s Africa operations for an enterprise value of $10.7 billion (Rs 49,000 crore).
The two companies will make a formal announcement on Thursday, a senior executive close to the deal said.
Currently, Bharti’s non-India operations include Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. This acquisition will take its footprint to 15 African countries.
“The deal speaks highly of the robustness of Indian telecom industry,” said J.S. Sarma, chairman of Telecom Regulatory Aut-hority of India. “I’m sure it will be of mutual benefit to the companies and their customers.”
The enterprise value of $10.7 billion includes $1.7 billion (Rs7,800 crore) in debt that Bharti will take on its books. So it will pay $9 billion (Rs 41,500 crore) to Zain — $8.3 billion (Rs 38,000 crore) now and the remaining $700 million in a year from the deal closure.