No plan to buy stake in Loop Telecom: MTN

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Old 29-Jun-2010
No plan to buy stake in Loop Telecom: MTN

New Delhi, June 28

In the era of merger and acquisitions in the telecom sector in the country, where shakeups can be expected, speculation is also rife about the buyouts. As India is emerging as the fastest-growing telecom market in the world, there are opportunities for the global telecom players to gain a foothold in the country.

This, especially, with a large number of startup companies looking to sell their stake to attract foreign equity.

The latest to face the buyout speculation has been South African telecom giant MTN, which was once in talks with the countryís two largest telecom players, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications (RCom) for a merger.

As reports came in that after failing to gain a foothold in India through mergers, MTN was looking to buy a stake in startup company Loop Telecom, the South African global telecom player has gone out to deny any such move.

MTN, which has been looking to strengthen its presence across the world after failed talks with Airtel and RCom, said in Johannesburg that it was not in talks to buy stake in Loop Telecom.

A newspaper report had said that MTN has been holding talks through merchant bankers and that Loop Telecom might be willing to sell up to 45 per cent stake.

Loop Telecom has mobile telephony licences in 21 circles and has been looking for a strategic investor for some time now.

Loop, in which the Ruias of Essar Group have a less than 10 per cent holding, had also held talks with billionaire serial investor C Sivasankaran. The non-resident Indian investor had in the 1990s sold his Sterling Cellular to the Ruias, marking the groupís entry into telecom.

Loop began scouting for a partner after it was reportedly cleared by the DoT earlier this month from charges of violating cross-holding restrictions.

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