According to emerging reports, Orange and Vodafone are in “strong running” to acquire 65 percent of the telecom company.
The Economic Times of India reported that Bharti was looking to boost its assets in Nigeria, its largest African market, where it generates around 30% of its revenues.
Bharti Airtel chairman, Sunil Mittal, had previously spoken of the potential for mergers in some of its African assets as part of a rationalisation plan.
Despite being a major market, Bharti’s unit has not broken into the top two operators in Nigeria since it bought Zain Group’s sub-Saharan Africa assets.
Industy experts believe the acquisition of 9mobile could see Airtel Nigeria overtake Globacom, and close its market gap with MTN Nigeria.
Vodafone lost the opportunity to operate in Nigeria during the early days of GSM as the company turned down request by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to buy the then ailing NITEL.
There are indications that about 60% stake in 9Mobile must have been acquired by Dangote Industries. A conglomerate owned by Aliko Dangote, Nigeria and Africa’s richest man. However, any have been no statement from the business mogul on this.