Merger between Telkom and Airtel Kenya Suspended

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The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has suspended the merger between Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya, pending investigations by the anti-corruption watchdog into how the deal was brokered, Business Daily Africa recently reported.

A separate investigation is also ongoing to establish the circumstances under which the Treasury ceded further ownership of Telkom Kenya to Orange, the French multinational which later sold its stake to private equity fund Helios.

Telkom Kenya, which is majority-owned (60 percent) by the UK-based Helios Investment Partners and 40 percent by the Kenya government, had earlier sought the communications regulator’s approval to merge their mobile, enterprise and carrier services to form a single joint venture company to be named Airtel-Telkom.

The CA, however, said yesterday it had informed the two telcos that it would not give the approval as it awaits the conclusion of the investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Agency (EACC).

“We have advised the parties that, in light of government shareholding in Telkom Kenya, approval shall only be granted once all the conditions set out by the Authority are fulfilled and the transaction is cleared by the EACC,” said the CA director in charge of communications and public affairs, Christopher Wambua, while confirming that the telecoms regulator had received a letter from EACC requesting that the deal be suspended.

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