UK’s Vodafone Group has taken full control of its Indian wireless operations, purchasing the 10.97% stake held by Piramal Enterprises and the 24.65% holding of local businessman Analjit Singh for INR89 billion and INR12.41 billion (USD1.48 billion and USD205.81 million) respectively. According to the Economic Times, the difference in price between the two deals had ‘raised a few eyebrows’, although the paper added that Singh and Vodafone had jointly clarified in January that the lower valuation of the former’s stake reflected the fact that Singh’s holdings were through a number of companies, some of which had ‘significant’ debt, and was in line with agreements made between the two parties and the Indian government in 2007 and 2009. The transaction with Singh has been completed, whilst the purchase of Piramal’s shares is expected to be completed today.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Vodafone India is the nation’s second largest cellco by subscribers, claiming 160.41 million users at the end of 2013, equating to a market share of 18.1%. Bharti Airtel led the market at that date with 22.4% of the sector, whilst Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications (RCOM) trailed behind with 14.5% and 13.3%.