MTN Group approached home market rival Telkom South Africa about a potential takeover, Bloomberg reported, though the move was apparently rebuffed.

The newswire’s sources claimed there was currently no deal on the table following Telkom’s lack of interest in selling-up, and it was unclear if MTN would continue its pursuit of the company.

Any deal would have to be cleared by the country’s regulatory bodies and would bring together the second and third largest operators in the market by connections.

GSMA Intelligence connection figures for Q3 place Vodacom at the helm of the market with 45 million connections. MTN had 32 million, with Telkom on 16.5 million. There are also two smaller players, Cell C and Rain.

The rumours come as MTN is in the process of refocusing its business, selling units in the Middle East and progressing plans to release cash from its passive infrastructure assets and through IPOs in various operations and divisions.