The collapse of talks between India's Bharti Airtel and South Africa's MTN Group means banks have lost out on an estimated $50 million-plus of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) fees.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, which were advising MTN, were on course to share $34 million in fees, according to estimates for Thomson Reuters compiled by Freeman & Co, a merger consultancy.

Standard Chartered and Barclays, which advised Bharti, and Goldman Sachs, which worked for the company's shareholder SingTel, were on course to share $25 million.

Instead, the banks may get a retainer payment of just 5 percent to 10 percent of the success fees, Freeman says.

Talks to create the world's third-largest mobile operator collapsed for the second time in just over a year on Wednesday. The deal, based on a complex minority share swap, would have been one of 2009's biggest M&A transactions.

Bharti, India's largest mobile operator, blamed the South African government for the latest breakdown in a deal which faced close scrutiny from regulators and politicians.

The tie-up's collapse harks back to last year, when the acute phase of the financial crisis pushed deal cancellations to a record, of close to $800 billion.

The failure of more than 1,100 deals deprived banks of an estimated $815 million-plus in fees.

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