Bharti Airtel has a large presence in Africa and recently raised $1.5bn of funding to help it expand its operations

Indian based telco Bharti Airtel is reportedly mulling a move to acquire Kenya’s smallest telecoms operator, Telkom Kenya, according to a report by Reuters

The move is intended to help Airtel scale up its presence in East Africa and create a stronger challenger to Kenya’s dominant telco, Safaricom. 

The company previously held talks to discuss a potential merger in 2018, but discussions ground to a halt when a final agreement could not be reached. Three industry sources have now told Reuters that Airtel is looking to restart those discussions. 

In October last year, Airtel announced that it had secured $1.25bn of funding from a range of international investors, to spearhead its expansion plans in Africa. 

"Six leading global investors comprising Warburg Pincus, Temasek, Singtel, SoftBank Group International and others have agreed to invest $1.25 billion through a primary equity issuance in the company at a post money equity value of approximately $4.4 billion," Airtel Africa said in a statement.

Airtel has a significant presence in Africa, with 78 million subscribers spread across the continent. 

So far, neither Airtel nor Telkom Kenya have commented publicly on the proposed merger.  

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