Amid talks with South African telecom giant MTN for a possible deal, Bharti Chairman Sunil Mittal on Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is understood to have discussed some contentious issue like dual listing and exemption from open offer to be availed by MTN.
Mittal's meeting comes on a day when the market regulator SEBI revised the takeover norms that may have ramifications for the proposed deal between the Indian and the South African telecom firms to create a combined USD 23 billion entity.
As per the revised norms, an open offer will be triggered if any entity acquires GDRs/ADRs with voting rights amounting to a 15 per cent stake in any Indian company.
While SEBI Chairman CB Bhave declined to comment on Bharti-MTN deal in particular, the revised norms would require MTN to make an open offer if it is issued GDRs with voting rights.
"We can confirm that the structure under discussion with MTN will be fully compliant with the laws in both the countries. All relevant approvals, including exemption from open offer from SEBI (if required), would be sought at an appropriate time," Bharti Airtel said in a statement in New Delhi.
Both companies have extended period for exclusive talks till September 30 and according to highly placed sources talks both at the level of companies as well as government are still continuing to hammer out differences.