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6:00 AM India's Reliance Infratel is up for grabs

June 16, 2010

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6:00 AM -- Reliance Communications Ltd. is hardly ever out of the news these days. (See Reliance Lines Up Stake Sale, Oh Brother!, and India's BWA Auction Ends in $8.2B Drama.)

And now it looks like it's about to divest its wireless towers business, Reliance Infratel, in a move that looks set to halve its 300 billion Indian rupees (US$6.47 billion) debt, as Infratel is carrying about INR150 billion ($3.23 billion) of debt on its books.

Names linked with a potential acquisition include existing tower management players GTL Infrastructure Ltd. (which acquired Aircel Ltd. 's tower business for INR84 billion ($1.84 billion) earlier this year), American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT), and Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI), according to the The Economic Times.

Reliance Infratel has around 54,000 towers, which, based on the price-per-tower of INR4.8 million ($104,000) from the GTL/Aircel deal earlier this year, could be valued at around $5.6 billion.

The Indian wireless tower sector is experiencing a lot of churn. In addition to GTL's deal with Aircel, American Towers has made three acquisitions in India, including that of Essar Telecom Infrastructure's 4,450 towers for INR20 billion ($431 million) in February. (See American Tower to Buy ETIPL.)

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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