Bharti Airtel’s African safari takes a curious turn


As investors await the Airtel Africa IPO, it’s heartening that the company has managed to raise considerable equity and pare down debt.

About a week ago, Bharti Airtel Ltd announced that its Africa unit had raised $1.25 billion from six global investors and that it intends to follow this up with an initial public offering (IPO). The investors, which included SoftBank Group International and Warburg Pincus, got a roughly 28% stake in Airtel Africa Ltd, which is the holding company that owns all of Airtel’s African assets.

The announcement has caused a stir back in Tanzania. The government there has warned investors buying into Airtel Africa that it doesn’t approve of any change in ownership in Airtel Tanzania. Bharti Airtel, on its part, is labouring to point out that the stake sale in the…

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