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Breaking: MTN wants to buy Telkom SA

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MTN Group is looking to buy one of its rivals in South Africa, Telkom, in a deal that would see consolidation of the second- and third-biggest mobile operators in SA.

Both MTN and Telkom confirmed the news via the Johannesburg Stock Exchange News Service, saying that "discussions are at an early stage and there is no certainty that the Transaction will be consummated".

MTN and Telkom both advised shareholders in almost identical statements that the two operators had entered into discussions about MTN acquiring the entire issued share capital of Telkom in return for shares or a combination of cash and shares in MTN.

At the end of March 2022 MTN controlled almost 30% of the SA market and Telkom almost 15%, according to statistics from market research company Omdia, while Vodacom led the local market with almost 45% market share and Cell C trailed with about 10%.

Telkom's shares jumped nearly 30% following the announcement on Friday, while MTN was up almost 4%.

This is not the first time the market has heard of the possibility of consolidation. Bloomberg News reported back in November 2021 that MTN was pursuing Telkom, but the smaller operator had rebuffed the offer.

In 2019 news also broke that Telkom planned to buy struggling operator Cell C, but the offer was eventually rejected by Cell C.

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*Top image is of MTN's new branding which launched in February 2022. (Source: MTN Group).

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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