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MTN M&A Latest

1:00 PM -- There's never a dull moment with MTN Group Ltd. , the emerging markets mobile operator with the enormous "Come and Get Me" sign flashing outside its headquarters. (See MTN Becomes M&A Magnet.)

MTN, which has more than 68 million subscribers in 21 markets in Africa and the Middle East, is looking for a spouse to take it on to bigger and better things. It was practically exchanging vows with India's Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) late last week, but relations soured at the altar.

But before MTN could slip out of its wedding dress, in stepped Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) , and the two have now entered "exclusive negotiations for a period of up to 45 days with respect to a potential combination of their businesses."

Reliance will be well aware of Bharti's claims that, while "an in-principle agreement was reached" and presented to the MTN board on May 21, MTN then came back with "a completely different structure from what was agreed."

This whole MTN saga, while entertaining, looks very much like a case of caveat emptor.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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