Orascom, MTN call off acquisition talks

Egyptian carrier Orascom, run by billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris, said this week that it has called off discussions with regional powerhouse MTN.

The pair had been in discussions for some months over the potential sale of “certain of Orascom’s operations” – thought to be the firm’s African portfolio – to MTN. But they have failed to reach an agreement, Orascom said on Thursday. This is after Orascom’s parent company, Weather Investments, had also failed in talks with MTN over the latter’s acquisition of the Egyptian carrier.

MTN’s not having much luck of late, having failed in its bid to merge with Bharti Airtel, which in turn, satisfied its own lust for African property by gobbling up Zain’s business on the continent.

Earlier this year Phuthuma Nhleko, group president and chief executive of MTN, announced plans to depart after eight years at the helm.

Back to Zain though, which after the sale of its African assets, said Thursday that it is restructuring its executive management to better refocus on the Middle Eastern markets, namely in Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan where it serves over 31 million customers.

Earlier this week Zain’s Kuwaiti operation outsourced the operation and management of its 3G network to Motorola.

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