Orascom and MTN confirm takeover talks but Algeria’s government says no to the sale of Orascom Telecom Algeria

Telecoms

Orascom and MTN have confirmed that they are discussing a deal that analysts believe could see the South African telco take control of Orascom's African assets.

In a statement released today, Egypt-based Orascom said it "is aware that its parent company, Weather Investments SpA, is in discussions with MTN Group which may or may not lead to a transaction relating to the acquisition or control of Orascom and or its businesses by MTN".

Earlier on MTN confirmed that it is in discussions with Weather Investments, the investment vehicle of Orascom chairman Naguib Sawiris, which has a 51% stake in Orascom Telecom.

Orascom has operations in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Central African Republic, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.

Orascom has also asked the Egyptian Exchange to restore trading on its stock, after it was suspended following press speculation about the talks with MTN.

In a further development, Algeria's government has announced that it is opposing a deal under which South Africa's MTN Group Ltd. would acquire the prized Algerian unit of Egypt's Orascom Telecom, the Telecommunications Ministry said Wednesday.

"The government is opposed to the planned deal between MTN and Orascom" with regard to the unit, Orascom Telecom Algerie, also known as Djezzy, the ministry said in a statement. "Any transaction concerning OTA will be void...and could lead to the withdrawal of the telephone license granted to the company," it said.