As Bharti Infratel goes ahead with the closure of its massive towers merger with Indus Towers, it looks like Vodafone Idea is going to take advantage of the situation to earn some much-needed cash.
In fact, according to Indian press reports, with Bharti Infratel now going ahead with the merger, Vodafone Idea has decided to sell its 11.15 percent stake in Indus Towers (a three-way joint venture between Bharti Infratel, the UK’s Vodafone Plc Group and Vodafone Idea) for over $548 million, although the precise figure will be confirmed shortly before the merger is closed.
Indus already seems to be looking ahead. About a fortnight ago, Indus Towers was said to be close to agreeing a long-term fibre leasing contracts with Reliance Jio Infocomm, Tata Sky and Tata Teleservices to offer its fibre resources for their home broadband, DTH and enterprise businesses respectively.
All of which signals that a very delayed sale might now be at an end. In late June Bharti Infratel extended the long stop date for the closure of its merger with Indus Towers for the fifth time, to 31 August, saying some conditions still need to be met.
Some commentators put the delay down to uncertainty about Vodafone Idea’s future if the Indian Supreme Court decided to demand immediate payment of its adjusted gross revenue dues. This hasn’t happened, of course: Vodafone Idea now has ten years to pay and the Indus Towers deal seems to be on the verge of completion.