Bharti Airtel Ltd.: Going Global

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR384
Case Length : 25 Pages
Period : 2007-2010
Pub Date : 2011
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Bharti Airtel Ltd
Industry : Telecom
Countries : Global; Africa; Middle East; Asia

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"We are not going with a static mind that ‘okay, we need to copy India.'… (The) objective is to build a strategy that is appropriate for each country of Africa."1

- Manoj Kolhi, CEO (International), Bharti Airtel Ltd., in June 2010.


In June 2010, leading Indian mobile telecom company Bharti Airtel Ltd. (BAL) concluded a deal with Zain Group 2(Zain) to buy its businesses in fifteen African countries. Zain, Africa's second largest mobile telecom service provider, had operations in seventeen African countries, apart from six Middle Eastern countries3. The deal, valued at US$10.7 billion, was considered one of the biggest acquisitions in the emerging markets. With this, BAL's subscriber base rose by 42 million to reach 185 million, which made it the world's fifth largest mobile telecom operator4.

BAL, which had earned a name for itself globally with its low cost model and strategic innovations, was actively looking to globalize itself since 2007.

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In the years 2008 and 2009, it was in advanced stages of negotiation to complete a deal with the MTN Group (MTN), Africa's largest telecom company, but the deal fell through both times. MTN had a presence in more than twenty African countries.5

Bharti Airtel Ltd.: Going Global - Next Page >>

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1] Devidutta Tripathy, "Bharti Keeps Open Mind over Africa Strategy,", June 9, 2010.
2] Zain was Africa's second largest telecom company and operated in 17 African and five Middle Eastern countries. It was founded in the year 1983 in Kuwait as Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) and was rebranded as Zain in the year 2007.
3] "Bharti Airtel Completes Zain Acquisition,"The Hindu, June 8, 2010.
4] Mehul Srivastava and Nicky Smith, "Bharti Agrees to Buy Zain Africa Assets for $9 Billion,", March 30, 2010.
5] "No Calling up MTN Again, Says Bharti Airtel," Business Line, October 6, 2009.

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