India: M&A Hotbed

1:00 PM -- Reliance Communications Ltd. is being linked with so many potential relationships, it's only a matter of time before it's snapped by the paparazzi having drinks with Cheryl Cole.

Not only is it rumored to be in talks again with a previous squeeze, South Africa's MTN Group Ltd. -- see this Bloomberg report -- but there's speculation that Middle East powerhouse Etisalat is in talks to take a 25 percent stake in the Indian carrier for US$3.84 billion, according to The Times of India. (See Reliance Feud Kills MTN Deal.)

That rumor sent Reliance's share price up by 11 percent Wednesday, ending the day at 154.6 Indian rupees.

That's not the only investment rumor doing the rounds in India, as mobile tower firm GTL Infrastructure Ltd. is being linked with an investment in Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s planned broadband wireless access (BWA) network operations, according to Business Standard. (See Qualcomm Unveils LTE Plans for India and So Who's Pals With Qualcomm?)

Qualcomm is currently engaged in the BWA spectrum auction that is set to raise billions of dollars for the Indian government. (See Bids Flood In for India's Spectrum Auctions and India's New Auction, New Action.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

Sunderjeet 12/5/2012 | 4:33:58 PM
re: India: M&A Hotbed

Etisalat has 45% stake in Swan Telecom which is an upcoming mobile operator in India. I wonder how would it manage if it plans a stake in its competitor Reliance. Need to get past the regulatories that restricts the ownership to a certain %ge in the competitor operating in the same circle.

digits 12/5/2012 | 4:33:48 PM
re: India: M&A Hotbed

Swan Telecom (Etisalat DB) is a very new entrant, and it's regarded as inevitable that, with so many mobile operators in India now (15 operational), that there will be consolidation. If Etisalat was to take a stake in Reliance I'm sure it would offload its stake in Swan without too much difficulty.

It could be that Etisalat got interested in a stake in Reliance after Swan/Etisalat DB failed to land any 3G spectrum in the recent auction.


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