On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- According to Bloomberg, MTN is the front-runner among suitors interested in taking control of Congo-Chine Telecom, the country's third-largest player. Bloomberg estimates Congo-Chine Telecom to be worth $400m and said the Congo's low cellular penetration rate of 15% could see it add 25-million subscribers within five years.

- Essar Communications, a major shareholder in Econet Wireless International (EWI), has dismissed reports that South African wireless group MTN is considering a takeover of subsidiary Econet Wireless Kenya (EWK). India-based Essar currently holds a 49% stake in EWI. The shareholding agreement between Essar and Econet Group reportedly gives Essar the first option to buy its partner’s 51% stake. CommsUpdate yesterday reported that MTN Group hoped to enter the Kenyan wireless market, but Essar has apparently dismissed the KES36 billion (USD450 million) offer as too low.

- South Africa’s telecoms company, the Huge Group, is hoping for an amicable ending to its spat with the JSE, and has no intention of suing the stock exchange for defamation arising from share trades that apparently breached the Companies Act.