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Board of Ideal Cellular approves sale of tower business held by subsidiary

14 November, 2017, 00:45 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • ATC to Buy Tower Assets From Vodafone, Idea for $1.2 Billion

American Tower Corp has agreed to buy about 20,000 mobile phone masts for 78.5 billion rupees ($1.2 billion) from Idea Cellular and Vodafone India, who are seeking to merge.

Shares of Idea Cellular were trading at Rs 94.90 a piece, down by 2.22% on the BSE in the early trading hours Monday.

In 2015, ATC agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Viom Networks Ltd for $1.2 billion.

The sale of tower business is subject to regulatory and other approvals. Reliance Jio, in which Ambani has invested $20 billion, launched its services in September.

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Both Idea and Vodafone are inching closer to completing a $23 billion merger that is set to create India's largest mobile phone company that leapfrogs Bharti Airtel.

Ever since it entered the market in September a year ago, Reliance Jio has been pursuing a strategy of slashing prices to attract subscribers. Idea would get 40 billion rupees from the deal, while Vodafone will get the remainder, the company said. It will have nearly 400 million customers with 35% customer and 41% revenue market share.

Amit Sharma, American Tower's EVP and President, Asia and Chairman of the Board, ATC TIPL, added, "We are extremely pleased to partner with Vodafone and Idea to help expand mobile broadband services across India while furthering our participation in the Digital India initiative". Its offers of free voice calls and data plans, which continued for months, eroded the revenue and profits of competitors such as Idea and Bharti. The merger is expected to be completed in 2018. In 2014-15, ICIS reported total income of Rs238 crore, according to filings with the Registrar of Companies. Mint had reported that Idea was also in talks to sell its entire stake in Indus to another buyer with the consent of Bharti Airtel.

The deal, which now awaits various regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed next year around March.

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