Vodafone, Idea to sell mobile-towers to ATC for Rs. 7850cr

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Idea and Vodafone Group's India unit are on track to merge operations in a deal valued at $23 billion Vodafone India has also agreed to sell its standalone tower business to ATC Telecom for an enterprise value of 38.50 billion rupees.

The merger is aimed at dominating a market which billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has disrupted with free voice calls and low data prices.

"We expect the addition of these two high quality portfolios [Vodafone India and Idea Cellular] to be highly complementary to our existing assets, and to contribute to long-term growth as India's leading mobile operators accelerate their 4G network deployments", American Tower Corp Chief Executive Officer Jim Taiclet said according to The Hindu. Ltd for about $1.2 billion.

In Mar'17, Vodafone India and Idea announced a merger to create India's largest mobile operator worth over Rs. 1.5 lakh crore, with 35% market share. Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd, a unit of Idea Cellular, had around 9,900 towers with a tenancy ratio of 1.80 as of 30 September 2017.

Earlier this year, Vodafone India and Idea had agreed to merge their operations to create the country's largest telecom operator worth of more than Dollars 23 billion with a 35 percent market share.

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Last month Bharti Infratel said it would consider buying out its partners in Indus Towers, where Vodafone has a 42 percent stake and Idea along with private equity firm Providence owns 16 percent. Reports state that the deal is expected to close in 2018.

Vodafone India's tower business reported an EBITDA of Rs 369 crore for 2016-17.

In the event that the completion of the sale of the standalone telecom tower businesses precedes the completion of the proposed Idea-Vodafone, Vodafone India will receive $592 million, while Idea will get $615 million.

The transfer of shares is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed during the first half of calendar year 2018.

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