Government has received an unsolicited bid for its 40.5% stake in Telkom, following an announcement that MTN Group is in early-stage talks to acquire the company.

Investment firm Toto Consortium made an offer valued at R7-billion for the stake, according to Bloomberg calculations. The Telkom bid is based on a 30-day average share price of the firm, plus a 20% black empowerment discount, according to an offer letter seen by Bloomberg.

“The offer is subject to the satisfactory conclusion of a due diligence of Telkom,” according to the document dated 24 July. “We are not averse to collaborating with other stakeholders.”

MTN announced last month it’s planning a takeover offer for Telkom, with Rain also announcing its intention to combine with Telkom. Telkom said it would consider an offer or proposal from Rain to merge, once received.

There are no plans to sell the government’s stake in Telkom “at the moment”, communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said Thursday in a written response to Toto’s bid. “Should this situation change, we will communicate.”

National treasury said in an e-mailed response to questions it’s unaware of the government’s intention to sell its Telkom stake.

Toto said the consortium had access to funding and took a long-term view on its investment approach. “There is no predetermined plan to dilute and/or exit the investment,” it said in the letter, signed by Bongani Gigaba, chairman of Toto Investments.

Telkom says MTN talks remain on track

Toto Investments previously made an approach to acquire South African Airways that was rejected within days. The firm proceeded to sue the government for a lack of transparency on the transaction, with the deal going to Global Airways, which owns domestic airline Lift, and private equity firm Harith General Partners.

Rain wants to merge with Telkom: asks to pitch proposal to board

Toto is part of a consortium that controls a 24% stake in Richards Bay Minerals, majority owned by mining giant Rio Tinto. The investment is worth as much as R15-billion, Toto said in the court documents. – Bloomberg