With MTN’s share price at its worst level in a decade, the emerging-markets operator could be in the cross-hairs of cash-flush international operators, analysts say. After Nigerian authorities said MTN needed to send $8.1bn worth of dividends back to the country, and then slapped a $2bn tax bill on the stunned operator, the group’s shares have plunged to below R80 – less than a third of the highs reached four years ago.

At these levels, MTN could be attractive to operators such as China Mobile, which is sitting on net cash of about $70bn (R1-trillion) and has signalled its intent to make deals, according to Alastair Jones, a UK-based analyst at New Street Research. China Mobile said in a statement on its website on September 10 that it had opened an office in Johannesburg and that it had signed an agreement with MTN for a "strategic alliance relationship". Collaboration "The two companies will collaborate on international business expansion, international transmission intercon...

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