REUTERS - French telecoms group Orange has explored purchasing some assets in Africa including ones owned by India's top mobile phone carrier Bharti Airtel, as the company seeks to strengthen its business in Africa, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
While no deal is imminent, Orange may consider merging its African assets with those of Bharti's, thereby completing the creation of "Orange Africa" - a new entity that will group all its emerging market operations into a single unit, Bloomberg said. (bloom.bg/18O18iY)
However, Orange is less interested in Bharti's assets in English-speaking African countries, the website said.
The Paris-based company is also eyeing certain African assets owned by Millicom International Cellular although they may be less lucrative for the company, Bloomberg said.
Orange is considering many options for its Africa and Middle East phone assets including takeovers, partnerships with other operators and an initial public offering.
Last year, Bharti Airtel said it will sell about 3,100 telecoms towers in four African countries to Helios Towers Africa, in keeping with plans to sell most of its transmitter towers in Africa to raise up to $2 billion.
Orange and Bharti Airtel could not immediately be reached for comments outside regular business hours.
Reporting by Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru, editing by David Evans