ImageIndia will enter the global pecking order of the largest M&A's done so far this year with the proposed Bharti Airtel-MTNL deal. It will be the third largest deal so far in 2009 and if pharma is excluded, it will be the largest deal so far globally.

The proposed $29 billion acquisition is the third largest M&A deal after pharma biggie Pfizer acquired Wyeth in January for nearly $64 billion and Merck’s acquisition of Schering-Plough for nearly $46 billion, also in the pharma space announced in March this year. So excluding the two top deals done in the pharma sector, this would be the largest deal done globally. Bharti’s proposed acquisition of 49% stake in MTN worth up to $29 billion may become the largest cross border acquisition by a domestic company after the $12.7 billion Tata-Corus deal.

It is also the largest acquisition in India’s telecom sector and in Africa by a domestic company. The deal will even surpass that of China’s ICBC which acquired South African bank Standard Bank group worth $5.6 billion in October 2007 — the biggest African cross border inbound deal on record so far.

Till date, the largest acquisition on record in Africa by a domestic company is Ranbaxy’s acquisition of Be-Tabs Pharma for $70 million announced in 2006.

In fact, quite a few domestic companies across sectors have shown an appetite for African companies. The second largest deal is Apollo Tyres buying South Africa’s Dunlop Tyres for $66 million.

Last year Godrej Consumer Products bought Kinky brand of hair business for $33.2 million, while in January this year that of Tata Communications and Neotel for an undisclosed amount.