Dialog Axiata says no agreement to buy Airtel


Dec 03, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s fixed and mobile telco operator Dialog Axiata said on Thursday that it has not entered into an agreement with any party to merge or acquire Airtel.

“Dialog has been a consistent proponent of market consolidation and in the normal course of business evaluates opportunities, both organic and inorganic, to accelerate its growth strategy, and consolidate the strength and viability of the industry at large,” the company said in a stock exchange filing.

“The company confirms that it has not entered into an agreement with any party with respect to a merger or acquisition as speculated in the referenced article,” Dialog further said, adding a disclosure would be made if the company reached ‘material certainty’ with respect to a merger or acquisition.

A media report said Dialog is currently negotiating to buy the Colombo operations of fifth-placed player Bharti Airtel for 100 million US dollars.

The report further stated that the transaction will be a mix of cash and an equity stake in Dialog at ‘current’ market prices. In addition, sources have revealed that Dialog Axiata is planning to transfer its cell tower operations to a separate company.

Acquisition target Airtel is believed to preside over a 2,500-strong tower network in Sri Lanka.

The company initially approached India’s Bharti Airtel with the intention of acquiring its Sri Lankan unit few years back.

Last year Sri Lanka Telecom, who owns second largest mobile operator Mobitel reportedly finalized a 130 million US dollars agreement to acquire fourth-placed Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka, although the deal has yet to be completed.

UAE based Etisalat was also said to be considering options to sell its Sri Lankan unit, unconfirmed reports said.

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