Bharti Airtel to buy Loop Mobile in Rs 700-crore deal: Report

Written by Agencies | Mumbai | Updated: Feb 17 2014, 21:45pm hrs
Bharti AirtelBharti Airtel is likely to announce the acquisition of Loop Mobile in the next couple of days.
Bharti Airtel Ltd, India's top cellular carrier, will acquire Loop Mobile in a Rs 700 crore ($112.74 million) deal that may be announced this week.

The deal will be on a slump sale basis and Bharti will get Loop's 3 million subscribers, about 400 telecom towers and optic fibre and electronic equipment on which Loop's network currently runs.

Sources privy to the negotiations said Sunil Bharti Mittal-led Airtel has almost completed agreement with Loop Mobile and the announcement will come in a couple of days.

Bharti Airtel bought 900 MHz band spectrum in Mumbai in the just-concluded spectrum auctions.

The deal will make Bharti Airtel the largest telecoms operator in the Mumbai circle with about 7 million subscribers, ahead of rival Vodafone's Indian unit.

This buyout could be the first deal at a time when industry is gearing for consolidation. Though government is about to announce new M&A guidelines, the deal can go through even under the existing rules.

Loop Mobile has a debt of Rs 400 crore, which is likely to be included in the final transaction. Loop's licence is expiring in the last quarter of this year. As per present rules, Loop which holds 8 mhz of airwave frequency in 900mhz band was required to participate in auction that concluded on February 13 to win back its spectrum for continuing operations.

The company, however, did not participate in the auction.

A Bharti spokesman declined to comment. Loop did not have an immediate comment.