Global investors approach Airtel for acquiring Bharti Infratel’s stake

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Published: November 1, 2017 6:40:35 PM

Bharti Airtel has said that global investors have shown interest in acquiring stakes of its subsidiary Bharti Infratel amid the news that Bharti Infratel is considering buying Indus Towers.

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Bharti Airtel has said that global investors have shown interest in acquiring stakes of its subsidiary Bharti Infratel, Reuters reported amid the news that Bharti Infratel is considering buying Indus Towers, the biggest mobile mast operator in India The company’s panel of directors recommended to consider the proposal but no formal discussion has started yet.

“Airtel has been approached by a few reputed global investors to acquire a significant stake in Bharti Infratel which, if accepted, could result in such investors acquiring control of Bharti Infratel,” Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

Earlier, media reports said that Bharti Infratel was in talks with a consortium led by KKR to acquire $11 billion Indus Towers. According to a report published by The Times of India, the consortium comprising KKR, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and GIC Singapore will invest $5 billion in a multi-phase acquisition, in which Bharti Infratel, first, will acquire nearly 58% shares of Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Providence Equity Partners in Indus Towers.

After Bharti Infratel acquires Indus Towers’ shares, the consortium will increase its shares from 10% to nearly 45% to become the single largest shareholder.

Bharti Infratel owns 42% in Indus Towers and is likely to buy 45-50% stake for $5.5-6.5 billion, the report citing sources said. Brookfield Asset Management, whose deal with Reliance Communications currently hangs in balance has also shown interest in combined 53.15% shares of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in Indus Towers.

Indus Towers is world’s largest wireless infrastructure company and has 1,23,000 towers. If the KKR-Bharti Infratel- Indus Towers deal is completed, it is likely to be the largest global transaction of this kind. With this, KKR is aiming to be able to command the premium valuation, which is with very few mobile operators globally. Earlier in March, Bharti Infratel’s parent Bharti Airtel had sold 10.3% stake to KKR-led consortium for Rs 6,194 crore.

Bharti Airtel’s fiscal second quarter financial results beat most analyst estimates even as its consolidated adjusted net profit plunged 77% and revenue fell 10.4% on-year on an underlying basis. India’s largest telecommunication services company’s Jul-Sep adjusted net profit fell to Rs 343 crore from Rs 1,461 crore in the same quarter a year ago.

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