This just in. There is still a ray of hope for a deal between Reliance Communications and South African telecom company MTN. RCOM has announced that the exclusive negotiations between the two telcos have been extended till July 21. In a communication to stock exchanges, RCOM said: “RCOM and MTN have agreed to continue their negotiations in relation to such potential business combination and have extended the period of exclusivity until July 21, 2008.”

The statement also said that “there is no certainty either on completion or the timing of the said proposal.” This is contrary to the media reports that the talks are unlikely to be extended.

RCOM and MTN started a 45-day exclusive negotiations on May 26. The agreement was expected to lapse on July 8, which has been extended now for another two weeks.

RCOM and MTN are struggling to achieve a breakthrough in deal talks while RCOM is fighting a battle with Reliance Industries as the latter had claimed right of first refusal in the event of RCOM selling shares to an outsider. Although legal pandits, citing precedents, are of the view that RIL may not be able to enforce ROFR on a public company.

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