Airtel and Telkom to merge Kenyan operations

Airtel and Telkom to merge Kenyan operations

Bharti Airtel and Telkom Kenya have agreed to merge their Kenyan operations, enabling them to compete more effectively with the dominant Safaricom.

The two operators have agreed to set up a joint venture known as Airtel Telkom comprised of their respective carrier services, enterprise and mobile units. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and no financial information has been disclosed.

The merger has come close to happening in the past, with two months of negotiations last year coming to nothing. Airtel walked out on the talks in June after the companies failed to reach an agreement on strategies for future investments, among other points. However, Reuters last month reported that merger discussions had resumed.

Telkom Kenya’s shares are split 60:40 between Helios Investment Partners and the Kenyan government. The former was reportedly looking to divest the holding for cash. With Airtel planning an IPO of its African business in May or June this year, the merger will be a boon as it is likely to increase Airtel Africa’s overall value.

Airtel Telkom will be “an entity with enhanced scale, operational efficiency and strategic brand presence”, according to a statement from Airtel. It added that the unit would receive investment from both its parent firms “to further accelerate rollout of future technologies”.

At the end of the last quarter, figures from the Communications Authority of Kenya showed Airtel Kenya as having 9.7 million mobile subscribers, while Telkom Kenya had 3.9 million. Their combined total will not put them ahead of Safaricom, which had 29.7 million.

Sign-up to our weekly newsletter

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news, articles, event and product updates posted on Developing Telecoms.
Subscribe to our FREE weekly email newsletters for the latest telecom info in developing and emerging markets globally.
Sending occasional e-mail from 3rd parties about industry white papers, online and live events relevant to subscribers helps us fund this website and free weekly newsletter. We never sell your personal data. Click here to view our privacy policy.