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Bharti Airtel Completes Acquisition of Zain

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF. - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, June 09, (THEWILL) - India's Telecom giant, Bharti Airtel, has at last completed the acquisition of Zain Africa Operations with the payment of $7.87 billion received by Zain which will further receive another $400 million in one year plus $700 million which will be paid after closing the deal within a year.

In a statement obtained by THEWILL, the development also saw the settlement of long standing rift with Zain Nigeria’s country partner, Broad Communications Group and the appointment of its proprietor, Chief Otudeko as the Chairman of Bharti in Nigeria.

Zain Nigeria has been at loggerheads with its Nigerian partner in courts over accusations of non-payment of dividends to shareholders in the last ten years and mismanagement on the part of Zain amongst other allegations before the settlement.

The amicable resolution of the matter will afford the new owners, Bharti, to pursue unhindered development in Nigeria even as Bharti described "Otudeko as a highly regarded business leader in Nigeria, who will bring in all his resources to make it a leader in mobile telephony in Nigeria."

"In line with Bharti’s philosophy of forging long term strategic partnerships we are pleased to have joined hands with our local partner in Nigeria, Mr. Oba Otudeko, and his family" Chairman of Bharti, Sunil Bharti Mittal, said in the statement.

"I have no doubt that this partnership will ensure leadership for Bharti in Nigeria for the benefit of all stakeholders."

Reacting to the development, Oba Otudeko said, "We welcome Bharti Airtel as our new partner. I am aware of the leadership that Airtel has established in the telecom space and I am keenly looking for them to bring their expertise in the mobile telephony for the benefit of Nigeria and its people."

The final acquisition has made Bharti Airtel world’s fifth telecom firm by subscribers and will also be controlling 15 of Zain’s Africa operations and would be targeting an annual revenue of $5 billion by 2012 and intends to have a subscriber base of 100 million.

The acquisition of Zain Africa assets may result to another name change for the Nigeria operations.