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South Africa targeted M&A deals hit record high
May, 28th 2009

The total value of announced merger and acquisition deals focused on South Africa reached a whopping $24.1 billion so far this year, thanks to the proposed Bharti Airtel-MTN transaction.

According to data compiled by global deal tracking firm Dealogic, volume of announced M&A deals targeting South Africa reached $24.1 billion through 72 deals so far this year.    

This is the record year-to-date (January to May) high and represents a jump of 45 per cent from the merger deals announced in 2008. South Africa targeted M&A deals stood at $16.6 billion last year, it said.    

On May 25, the Indian telecom major renewed efforts to acquire a 49 per cent stake in South Africa's leading wireless services provider MTN.    

"The deal (Bharti Airtel-MTN) is the largest South Africa targeted acquisition on record, with the second largest announced in February 2001 when DB Investments acquired De Beers Consolidate Mines for $10.6 billion," Dealogic said.    

Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel and South Africa based MTN group's proposed deal would involve a complex structure in which both the entities would pay in cash and stocks for stakes in each other.    

As per the exploring agreement, MTN would acquire around 36 per cent economic interest in Bharti Airtel, the Indian telecom major would acquire 49 per cent stake in MTN.

Other major South Africa targeted deals include the Momentum Life Assurers and the Southern Life Association deal worth ($9.28 billion), the Mondi transaction of $7.08 billion and the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China's 20 per cent stake acquisition in Standard Bank Group for $5.49 billion, Dealogic said.    

Deutsche Bank leads the M&A advisory ranking for South African M&A so far this year with $24.2 billion, followed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch with $22.8 billion and Standard Chartered with $22.7 billion, Dealogic added.    

Meanwhile, the proposed Bharti-MTN deal is the biggest ever outbound transaction ever. Prior to this the largest deal by an Indian company so far has been Tata Steel's takeover of European steel major Corus for $12.2 billion.    

This is followed by British telecom giant Vodafone's purchase of controlling stake in Indian mobile service provider Hutch Essar for about $10 billion.

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