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Essar to sell Kenya assets

Negotiation time

New Delhi, March 4 (PTI): After exiting the telecom business in India, Essar Telecom is in talks to sell its Kenya business to Indian telecom major Airtel and Kenya’s leading operator Safaricom for about $100 million.

“Airtel Networks Kenya Ltd has sought an approval from the Communications Authority of Kenya to acquire the telecommunications licences and subscribers of Essar Telecom Kenya Ltd, which operates under the brand name yuMobile,” Airtel said.

Industry sources said Kenya’s leading operator Safaricom has also made a bid to acquire the infrastructure of the company. The total deal is estimated at $90-$100 million.

“The proposed arrangement envisages over 2.7 million customers of Essar Telecom Kenya becoming part of Airtel Kenya’s mobile network,” Airtel said.

This is the second acquisition of Airtel within a month of it buying the business and assets of Mumbai-based Loop Mobile for about Rs 700 crore.

yuMobile said it had filed an application to transfer its mobile business with the Communications Authority of Kenya for an intended transaction to transfer a part of its telecom business in Kenya.

In the application, the company indicated, without naming Airtel and Safaricom, that it was engaged in substantive talks with “two potential suitors” who were willing to take over its subscriber base and assets.

 
 
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