MTN Wants to Buy Telkom Again — Will This Time Be Different?

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Late last week MTN announced that it was in talks to acquire Telkom. This isn’t the first flirtation between the two South African mobile carriers.

In 2014, MTN tried to acquire Telkom’s radio access network only to be thwarted by the country’s Competition Commission. The following year, the commission signaled its concern that any combination of MTN and Telkom would create an MTN-Vodacom duopoly.

According to data published by TechCentral in February, which compiled publicly reported data from South African mobile carriers, a merger would elevate MTN into a leadership role over Vodacom in terms of mobile subscribers.

Late last year, MTN made a fresh overture to Telkom, but was rebuffed by then Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko, who left in January after eight years at the helm. He was replaced by Serame Taukobong.

It appears that Telkom is now more open to a merger. The big question is how the Competition Commission will respond. Some news reports have speculated that the merger must have been given an informal nod by the CC before MTN made its announcement. Otherwise, why go set themselves up for rejection yet again?

Continue Reading at the Africa SMME Tech Report

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