Asian telco mak­ing a play?

Finweek English Edition - - MARKETPLACE - Ed­i­to­rial@fin­

In an in­ter­est­ing Sens an­nounce­ment from MTN it dis­closes that M1 Lim­ited has ac­quired a 10.01% stake in MTN. M1 is a Sin­ga­pore-based telco that in it­self is very small, with only some 2m sub­scribers. But M1’s par­ent com­pany is Ax­i­ata, which through its var­i­ous sub­sidiaries has over 260m sub­scribers in Asia. Is this a round­about way of Ax­i­ata mak­ing a play for MTN? It would be a mon­ster tie-up with over half a bil­lion users across the emerg­ing African and Mid­dle East mar­kets and Asia. It seems far-fetched. Why go via M1 when it likely doesn’t have the money, but then why the 10.01% stake?

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