India's largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel has made a deal with debt-ridden Tata Teleservices, in which the former is going to take of the latter. The acquisition is subject to requisite regulatory approvals.
Billionaire Sunil Mital-owned Bharti Airtel will acquire Tata Group's operations across 19 circles under Tata Teleservices and Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra), the companies said in a statement.
With the acquisition, Bharti Airtel spectrum footprint will increase 178.5 MHz in the 850, 1,800 & 2,100 MHz bands, the company said in an exchange filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange.
The proposed merger will include transfer of all the customers and assets of Tata CMB to Bharti Airtel, further augmenting Bharti Airtel's overall customer base and network.
The transaction will also provide Bharti Airtel with an indefeasible right to use (IRU) for part of the existing fibre network of Tata.
The merger will be executed on a debt-free cash-free basis, except for Bharti Airtel assuming a small portion of the unpaid spectrum liability of Tata's towards the DoT, which is to be paid on deferred basis, according to the press release.
"This is a significant development towards further consolidation in the Indian mobile industry and reinforces our commitment to lead India's digital revolution by offering world-class and affordable telecom services through a robust technology and solid spectrum portfolio," said Sunil Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel.
Tata and Bharti Airtel will work together to explore other mutual areas of cooperation, noted Bharti Airtel in the news release.
"We believe today's agreement is the best and most optimal solution for the Tata Group and its stakeholders. Finding the right home for our longstanding customers and our employees has been the priority for us. We have evaluated multiple options and are pleased to have this agreement with Bharti," said N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, the parent of Tata Teleservices.
Highlights of merger
• Tata CMB to merge with Bharti Airtel
• Over 40 million customers to join Bharti Airtel and benefit from state-of-the-art 4G Mobile network with fallback on its 3G and 2G ecosystem
• Merger on a debt-free cash-free basis
• All past liabilities and dues to be settled by Tata
• Bharti Airtel will assume a small portion of the unpaid spectrum liability of Tata
• Merger to bolster Bharti Airtel's pre-eminent spectrum pool with significant additional spectrum in 1800, 2100 & 850 MHz bands, all widely used for 4G
• Transaction will also provide Bharti Airtel right to use Tata's existing fibre network
• Merger of TTL's customers and revenue base will further strengthen Bharti Airtel's Revenue Market Share (RMS)
• Tata to retain its stake in Viom and take care of associated liabilities