According to sources, India’s Bharti Airtel is in talks to buy Telkom Kenya, the smallest telecoms operator in East Africa, aiming to create a stronger competitor to market leader Safaricom.

However, Helios Investment, which maintains a 60% stake in Telkom, is planning to drop out of the investment which it entered in 2015.

It is noteworthy that these two companies held merger talks last year, but didn’t end as planned.

“Airtel is in the driving seat. They are leading the talks. Helios is partially cashing out,” said one of the sources. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of this quarter.

The regulating communications authority of Kenya said nothing is formal yet between the two operators until they announce it.