Bharti Airtel is trying to buy a mobile operator in South Africa, three years after its failed bid to partner with the giant MTN, according to South Africa’s Sunday Times.
The weekly magazine quoting “an unnamed source” close to Bharti Airtel Africa, said the company is looking to acquire either 8ta or Cell C as it seek expansion on the African continent. Bharti Airtel bought the Zain owned entities in Africa after failing to clinch a deal with MTN.
The source quoted by Sunday Times believe that Bharti Airtel would go for Cell C as 8ta is still struggling to gain market in the South African telecoms space. There has also been speculation of an impending merger between Cell C and 8ta after Cell C CEO Alan Knot-Craig hinted of the same.
8ta might be a target if Bharti Airtel is looking for future value as 8ta holds a huge chunk of 2.3GHz spectrum. The South African telecoms industry regulator is unlikely to approve 8ta selling off this spectrum to anyone buying the company, especially since it was awarded to Telkom and not 8ta directly.