Bharti hopes to seal Zain deal by Mar 25: report | india | Hindustan Times
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Bharti hopes to seal Zain deal by Mar 25: report

india Updated: Feb 17, 2010 09:08 IST

India's largest mobile services operator Bharti Airtel hopes to conclude the deal to buy Zain's African assets by March 25 and does not see funding as an issue, its chief said in a newspaper interview on Wednesday.

Bharti Airtel had confirmed on Monday it was in exclusive talks to buy Zain's African assets, excluding Sudan and Morocco in a $10.7 billion deal.

"We are currently doing the last round of due diligence, and I am sure we can complete the process in the short and tight deadline that we have," Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Bharti Mittal was quoted as saying by a national daily.

A series of announcements on the deal would also be made over the next couple of days, he told the newspaper.

The two companies are in exclusive talks until March 25, set as the deadline for the negotiations to conclude.

Mittal also said funding for the deal is not expected to put a strain on Bharti's balance sheet. "The financial plans will be laid out in totality over the coming days," he said.

"All I can say is that funding has never been an issue and will never be an issue for Bharti. We have obviously gone into the deal with our eyes open....," he said.

Bharti is likely to finance nearly all the deal's purchase with foreign currency loans, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Mittal also said the criticism by analysts of the high price being paid was a "fairy tale." "We don't look at analysts' views of cost per customer but the growth potential that Africa offers," he was quoted as saying.