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Airtel and Telkom Kenya agree to merger

Kenya’s second and third largest mobile phone operators are merging to create a stronger challenger to the market leader, Safaricom.

Indian-owned Bharti Airtel and Telkom Kenya announced their intention to operate under a joint venture company that will be named Airtel-Telkom. The two companies said the deal comprises their mobile, carrier, and enterprises services but would not include Telkom Kenya’s real estate portfolio and specific government services. Telkom Kenya is 60% owned by private equity firm Helios and 40% owned by the Kenyan government.

The two entities will continue to run independently but will combine efforts to enhance their range of products, marketing services, and offerings to customers. The closure of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

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