Reliance mulls MTN merger

Telecoms

Indian mobile carrier Reliance Communications is considering a merger with South Africa's MTN, or roping in a strategic foreign investor to raise funds, the Economic Times reported today.

The number two Indian mobile operator is ready to sell a stake in the company to raise funds to finance its foray into 3G mobile and wireless broadband access, the newspaper said, citing a person familiar with the plans.

At an MTN board meeting on Tuesday, the South African telecoms major decided it would examine Reliance Communications' merger proposal, the paper quoted the person as saying. Officials at Reliance Communications and MTN could not immediately be reached by Reuters for comment.

Abu Dhabi's Etisalat said on Wednesday it was looking to buy a stake in an Indian mobile operator, but did not disclose any names. A newspaper had reported it was in talks with cash-hungry Reliance Communications for a $3.8 billion deal.

Reliance Communications and MTN had planned a tie-up in 2008 but the deal was thwarted by issues within the Reliance family.