In a strategic move to strengthen its foothold in Airtel Africa, Indian billionaire Sunil Mittal’s company, Bharti Overseas Pvt Limited, has increased its stake in the telecom giant by 15.1%. The $115 million investment, facilitated through Barti Overseas, brings Mittal’s total shares in Airtel Africa to approximately 94 million.
Bharti Overseas Pvt Limited, affiliated with Sunil Mittal, executed the deal through its subsidiary, Indian Continent Limited. The acquisition of 94,593,705 shares, valued at $90.85 million, took place on December 12, 2023, a month after the company initially boosted its voting rights by 1.58%.
Sunil Mittal, founder of Bharti Airtel Africa, has long been a key player in the telecommunications industry. The move to augment the company’s stake in Airtel Africa underscores Mittal’s commitment to deepening ties with the leading telecom provider on the continent.
With this latest transaction, Barti Overseas secures a commanding 3.38% stake in Airtel Africa. Additionally, Indian Continent Investment Limited, another entity linked to Mittal, has increased its voting rights to 11.72%, contributing to the growing influence of Mittal-associated entities within Airtel Africa.
Ranked among India’s wealthiest, Sunil Mittal serves as the Chairman of Bharti Airtel, a global telecom giant operating in 17 countries with over 490 million subscribers and a revenue of $17.3 billion as of March 30, 2023.
The move comes as Airtel Africa, operating in 14 African countries with 140 million customers, competes in the telecom market alongside major players like MTN Group and Vodacom.
Bharti Airtel Limited remains the leading shareholder in Airtel Africa Plc, with a 56% stake primarily overseen by Singapore Telecommunications Limited. Bharti Overseas Pvt Limited, with its new 15.1% stake, solidifies its significant position within Airtel Africa’s shareholder structure.
In a related development, MTN Nigeria has expressed interest in acquiring stakes in its competitor, 9mobile. The move signals increased competition and strategic maneuvers within the Nigerian telecommunications landscape.
The telecom sector in Africa continues to witness dynamic shifts as key players seek to expand their influence and market share, setting the stage for further developments in the coming months.