India supports cross-border mergers and acquisitions involving home-grown companies but cannot change rules to accommodate one firm, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said Monday, referring to the aborted $24-billion cash-cum-equity deal between Indias Bharti and South Africas MTN.
It is not an issue of convertibility or dual listing. The government cannot change its policy for any particular business deal, Sharma told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar organised by the National Productivity Council.
If the deal had gone through, it could have created the worlds third largest mobile phone entity.
According to Bharti, the proposed deal - which even had the backing of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - was called off after the South African authorities declined to accept certain regulatory constraints on the part of both sides.
This structure needed an approval from the government of South Africa that has expressed its inability to accept it in the current form, said a statement by Bharti Airtel last week.
In view of this, both companies have taken the decision to disengage from discussion, said the statement issued after the closing of stock markets in both India and South Africa.