The top managements of Bharti Airtel and South African telco MTN Group and the Lebanon-based Mikati family (which holds 9.8 per cent) are looking at a 50-50 cash-and-stock deal option as part of possible merger talks against an earlier 60:40 structure.
Banking sources said with the MTN shareholders asking for a higher price than what Bharti had initially offered, the Indian telecom company might now pay 50 per cent of the money in cash and the rest through shares in Bharti Airtel.
The sources added that MTN is also believed not to favour signing an 'exclusivity' contract with Bharti Airtel under which it would be bound not to talk to any other competing bidder till the negotiations with them have been concluded.
Issues relating to who will be the chairman of the merged entity -- Bharti's Sunil Mittal or MTN group Chairman M C Ramaphosa -- are also under discussions.
From Bharti's side, the top negotiating team includes Sunil Mittal and Joint Managing Director Akhil Gupta. MTN is being represented by CEO Phutomo Nhleko and his Finance Director R D Nisbet.
The management controls 13.3 per cent in MTN through a company called Newshelf664. Members of the Mikati family are also involved in the negotiations.