MediaFile

from Breakingviews:

The limits of emerging market deal-making

South Africans snap pictures on their mobile phones

 So much for emerging-market solidarity.

A proposed $24 billion deal between Bharti of India and MTN of South Africa has fallen apart, not for the usual issues of price or control, but national ego.

The apparent sticking point was that South Africa was eager to retain MTN's national character and had approached Indian authorities to consider a dual-listed entity, a structure that Indian laws currently do not allow.

The opportunity for a landmark deal in southern economic cooperation, one that would have created the third-largest wireless operator in the world, looks lost. After several failed attempts, it is the credibility of their respective governments, not the companies themselves, that is left in doubt.

The message from the South African government is that international buyers can invest in, but not control, the country's companies. UK mining conglomerate Xtrata has been a two-time loser there, having abandoned a takeover plan for Lonmin Plc, then met with roadblocks in its offer to buy Anglo American.

A rickshaw driver rides past Bharti Airtel billboardIndia has been more than willing to help its biggest companies push onto the multinational stage in cars, steel and technology. But international companies looking to buy into India have received rough treatment as well.
  
Every country seems quite happy to have their companies do the buying, but no one wants to see its national heroes sold.

from Commentaries:

Bracing for bar brawl in mobile phone emerging markets

The last thing that the complex negotiations between India's Bharti and South Africa's MTN Group to create the world's third largest mobile phone company needed is more complexity. The existing deal involving an intricate mix of cash and stock is further complicated by currency fluctuations and diverging growth rates between the maturing Indian market and the wide-open African one.

Zain's footprint in Africa and Middle EastBut if a third company, Zain of Kuwait, succeeds in starting up a full-scale bidding war for itself, the Bharti-MTN deal could come off the rails and fall apart.  Zain's CEO told Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai on Monday that it is in talks with three major, but so-far unnamed telecom firms, including one from India. Last month, Zain said it was reviewing the possible sale of its far-flung African operations after French conglomerate Vivendi called off talks to buy a majority of Zain's African business.  A Vivendi spokesman says nothing has changed since then. There's no word yet from other obvious suspects -- France Telecom or Vodafone -- on whether they are interested.

The most likely Indian bidder for Zain looks like Reliance Communications, India's distant No. 2 mobile operator to Bharti. There's history here, as Reliance tried to nab MTN a year ago. That move came after Bharti's first try to strike a deal with MTN, South Africa's second largest operator, fell apart over which company's management would end up controlling the combined entity.

from Commentaries:

Tech Links: Phones, more phones and communion wafers

HTC Android phoneBetter luck next year for Android
Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has warned of a revenue shortfall, saying it has too many new phone models chasing too little revenue. Revenue growth will turn negative in 2009, instead of growing 10 percent, as the company had previously forecast.

Chief Executive Peter Chou says: "Momentum on both the Windows Mobile and Android platforms are also turning out to be weaker than expected."

HTSEC weighted indexTC said it is boosting its marketing spending to more than 15 percent of revenue from 13.5 percent to fend off market leader Nokia and the Apple iPhone juggernaut.