“Buy buy buy”: India’s big boys bank big deals

4 Jul 2005

Indian cellco Hutchison Telecommunications has sold a 3.4% stake in its Mumbai-based subsidiary Hutchison Max Telecom to local partner Essar Teleholdings for USD61 million. Following the deal, Hutchison, controlled by Hong Kong giant Hutchison Whampoa, holds 53.1% of Max Telecom, which claimed a mobile subscriber base of over eight million at the end of May.

Meanwhile, recent news reports have alleged that South Korea’s SK Telecom is in talks with Tata Teleservices to buy a 33% stake in the Bombay-based operator, in a deal estimated to be worth up to USD600 million. Tata provides CDMA-based wireless in the local loop (WiLL) services, and has a presence in 20 of India’s 23 telecoms circles.

Elsewhere, the country’s largest international carrier and ISP Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), majority-owned by the Tata Group, has completed its USD130 million acquisition of Tyco Global Network, a submarine cable network spanning 60,000 km and the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. The closure of the deal follows a long, drawn-out process of gaining US regulatory approval for the takeover, originally agreed in November 2004.

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