Mobile tower arm of telecom major Bharti Airtel, Infratel today said it has received clearance from stock exchanges for its merger with Indus Towers. It will now approach National Company Law Tribunal for its approval, the company said. “We are pleased to inform you that “no adverse observation” letter has been received from the Stock Exchange for the proposed merger of Bharti Infratel Limited and Indus Towers Limited. The Company will file the first motion petition before the National Company Law Tribunal in due course,” Bharti Infratel said in filing at both BSE and NSE.
In April this year, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone Group had announced an agreement for the merger of Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel to create the largest mobile tower operator in the world outside China. It will have over 163,000 towers across 22 telecom service areas in India. The combined company will own 100 per cent of Indus Towers — jointly owned by Bharti Infratel (42 per cent holding), Vodafone (42 pc), Idea Group (11.15 pc) and Providence (4.85 pc).
Post the deal, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone will jointly control the combined company, and the transaction is expected to close before the end of 2018-19, subject to statutory approvals. The deal gives Idea Group an option to sell its 11.5 per cent stake in Indus Towers for cash or in lieu of receiving new shares.
Providence too has the option to receive cash or shares for 3.35 per cent of its 4.85 per cent shareholding in Indus Towers with balance exchanged for shares. As per the deal structure, Vodafone will be issued 783.1 million new shares in the merged entity in exchange for its 42 per cent stake in Indus Towers, and this could take its holding to 29.4 per cent in new company depending on the options finally taken by Idea and Providence.
Similarly, Airtel’s stake in new combined tower behemoth may be diluted to 37.2 per cent in the combined entity from 53.5 per cent it currently holds in Bharti Infratel. The transaction values Indus Towers at an enterprise value of Rs 71,500 crore. Bharti Infratel stock was trading 0.44 per cent up at Rs 287.6 on BSE in the afternoon.