Algeria's finance minister said on Thursday no price had been agreed for the government's planned purchase of 51 per cent of Vimpelcom's local mobile phone unit Djezzy, adding talks could take weeks or even months.
"We are still in negotiations. Negotiations are ongoing. Until now the price has not been specified," Karim Djoudi told reporters at parliament.
"We will work in these negotiations to set the real value."
The comment came a day after a senior finance ministry source told Reuters that Algeria would pay $6.5 billion to acquire a controlling stake in Djezzy, a figure that far exceeded market expectations.
Analysts said the number most likely referred to the agreed value of Djezzy as a whole rather than the price Algeria might pay for 51 per cent of the unit.
The minister said no deadline had been set to reach a deal.
"There is not any timeline to complete the negotiations and reach an agreement on price. This could happen in two weeks or two months, or maybe even months," Djoudi said.
Egypt's stock exchange rallied on Wednesday on the initial news about the valuation. The country's Orascom Telecom owns Djezzy, although both now fall under the ownership of Russia-focused Vimpelcom following a takeover last year.
Resolution of a long-running dispute over Djezzy would lift a cloud that has hung for years over OT, a heavyweight on the bourse, and could bring more funds flowing into Egypt's entire equity market.