Airtel Networks Ltd, which was operating as Celtel Nigeria Ltd became an indirect arm of Bharti Airtel with over 65 per cent stake when India’s Bharti Airtel bought Zain to launch in Africa making it the second largest telecoms operator on the continent with operations in 17 and a subscriber base of over 53 million.
Bharti Airtel Nigeria has had legal disputes with Econet Wireless Ltd (EWL), a minority shareholder, on claimed breach o EWL’s pre-emption rights. Zain offered EWL a right to buy 65% of the shares but EWL did not meet the payment obligations of the agreement as per the agreed time which Airtel Nigeria acquired in 2006. Econet Wireless with just a 5% stake in the then Zain Nigeria demanded that Bharti Airtel pay it over $3 billion as compensation.
Further agreements and the financial terms of the deal are yet to be made public.