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BSNL out, Airtel throws hat to buy Millicom in Sri Lanka

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Luxembourg-based Millicom has rejected Indian PSU BSNL's bid to acquire its operations in Sri Lanka, but India's largest private mobile operator Bharti Airtel has entered the ring.

"They (Millicom) have not considered our bid. We had quoted a value what we thought was appropriate but it has fallen short of their expectations," BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Kuldeep Goyal told PTI.

Airtel, which has mobile services running in Sri Lanka, has also put in its bid to acquire 100 per cent stake in Millicom, sources said. BSNL's ouster could provide advantage to the private Indian firm.

According to sources, Malaysia's Axiata Group and Etisalat from United Arab Emirates, among other bidders.

The Nasdaq-listed firm Millicom provides prepaid cellular telephony services to over 30 million customers in 16 emerging markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

It has put its assets in Sri Lanka, Laos and Cambodia up for sale and has about two million subscribers in Sri Lanka.

Bharti Airtel, which is in talks with South African firm MTN for a possible deal to create a $23 billion entity with over 200 million subscribers, continues to be in race to buy Millicom.

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First Published: Thu, September 17 2009. 20:02 IST