Bharti Airtel may be looking to buy Bangladesh’s Warid Telecom for up to $900 million (around Rs 4,200 cr), indicating a shift in focus to smaller targets after its planned merger with South Africa’s MTN failed.
Bharti is set to buy a 70 per cent stake in Bangladesh’s fourth-biggest telecom company with an initial plan to invest $300 million, Bangla-desh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Chairman Zia Ahmed said.
In New Delhi, a spokesperson for Bharti Airtel did not confirm or deny the talks to acquire Warid, but signalled that options were open.
“We keep evaluating international expansion opportunities from time to time. However, at this point, we do not have anything definite to share,” the spokesperson said.
The proposed deal would give Bharti access to Bangladesh’s rapidly growing mobile sector at a time when it is locked in an intense price war in India with rivals Reliance Communications and Vodafone Essar.
UAE-based Abu Dhabi Group, which controls Warid Telecom, sought approval from Bangladesh’s telecom regulator for the sale on Sunday, Ahmed said, adding that a proposal by Abu Dhabi Group did not give a deal value.
Bangladesh’s Daily Star reported the deal could be worth $900 million, citing Warid officials.