The country may get its new biggest telecom service provider as early as next year with Vodafone India and Idea Cellular expecting to complete their merger formalities ahead of time, both companies said. “We welcome the decision of the Competition Commission of India approving the proposed merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, following its comprehensive review of the transaction. It is expected that other statutory approvals will be forthcoming and we anticipate completing the transaction during 2018,” Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said in a joint statement. Both firms had earlier anticipated to complete the merger within 24 months from the date of announcement. The merger was announced on March 20 this year.
The Competition Commission of India on Monday cleared the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in a USD 23-billion deal that will create the country’s largest telecom operator. “The USD 23 billion transaction is the largest by value in the history of Indian M&A,” Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Co said in a statement. At present, Bharti Airtel leads the mobile telephony segment in the country with 23.59 per cent market share in terms of mobile subscriber base. Post-merger, Vodafone, with market share of 17.86 per cent, and Idea with a market share of 16.62 per cent, will create the country’s largest telecom operator.
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The merged venture will create India’s largest mobile operator with almost 400 million users and a 35 per cent market share in terms of customers. The deal gives Vodafone India an implied enterprise value of Rs 82,800 crore and Idea an enterprise value of Rs 72,200 crore. Post the transaction, Vodafone will own 45.1 per cent stake in the merged entity while the Aditya Birla group, Idea’s parent, will have 26 per cent shareholding after paying Rs 3,874 crore cash for a 4.9 per cent stake. The remaining 28.9 per cent will be held by other shareholders.