Orascom must end talks with MTN to talk to Algerian government


Orascom Telecom Algeria, or OTA, must end talks with South African telecom group MTN if it wants to start negotiations with the Algerian government, reports Algerian daily newspaper El Khabar.

"They must halt discussion with MTN to start discussing with the government", reports the paper, citing the Post and Telecommunication Technologies Minister Hamid Bessalah.

Bessalah also said that discussions would be conducted with the Algerian unit OTA and not with the mother company Orascom Telecom Holding, the newspaper reported.

The Algerian government had said previously that it opposed any deal for South African MTN Group Ltd. to acquire OTA, also known as Djezzy, which is 90% owned by Orascom Telecom directly or through subsidiaries, and warned that any transaction could lead to the withdrawal of the business' telephone license.