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) --

Bharti Airtel

, India's largest telecom company, confirmed Monday that it was in talks to acquire most of the African assets of Kuwait's



In a news release, Bharti Airtel said the two companies had agreed to enter into exclusive discussions until March 25 on such a deal, based on an enterprise value of $10.7 billion.

The planned acquisition does not include Zain's operations in Morocco and Sudan.

The confirmation comes after weekend media reports that Bharti Airtel and Zain were in talks.

Bharti Airtel has wanted to expand into Africa for some time. It has tried twice to negotiate a merger with South Africa's MTN Group, but those talks fell apart.

The price of the Zain assets appeared to turn off investors, who sold off shares of Bharti Airtel following the announcement, the

Associated Press


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