Both Vodafone and MTN have denied reports that Vodafone has engaged MTN in pursuit of a multi-billion rand stake in the pan-African operator. South Africa’s Sunday Times suggested at the weekend that talks were underway after the country’s government blocked Vodafone from purchasing a controlling stake in rival local phone operator Vodacom. MTN shares had jumped over 4% following the report. Analysts told Reuters that the rumours of possible talks were not in line with MTN’s acquisition spree in emerging markets. “It doesn’t stack up with what they’re [MTN] saying publicly… I can’t see anything immediately happening,” one analyst told the news agency. Last week MTN unveiled a 17% rise in 2007 adjusted headline earnings per share and said its customer base grew by 53% to 61.4 million.
Meanwhile Vodafone Qatar has confirmed it is preparing an IPO. According to a Zawya Dow Jones report, the gulf state’s second mobile licence holder may sell up to 40% of its shares in the offering. Vodafone and partner Qatar Foundation Consortium won Qatar’s second mobile licence in December, and operations are expected to start by the end of this year.