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[Published: Tuesday July 13 2010]

 Algeria vetoes MTN’s offer of $ 7.8 bn for Djezzy phone unit

South Africa's MTN has offered to pay $ 7.8 billion for Egypt’s Orascom Telecom's lucrative Algerian unit Djezzy. The Egyptian mobile firm said it would start talks to sell Djezzy to the Algerian government after weeks of pressure from Algerian officials, who said the state had the right to bid on the unit before any foreign buyer.

Djezzy was the main component in a possible broader deal that would have made MTN the world's third-biggest mobile firm if all of Orascom's assets were included.

The Algerian authorities veto threw doubt on the chance of a larger deal going through, but talks over the sale of some Orascom assets to MTN have nevertheless continued between the two firms. Orascom is also interested in entering the Syrian market.

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