Vodafone Group will assume full control over its Indian operations, buying out minority shareholders at a cost of INR101 billion ($1.6 billion).
The buyout was likely prompted by a change in India’s foreign ownership rules, which now allow Indian operators to be 100% owned by overseas firms. Previously, foreign companies could hold a maximum 74% stake in Indian operators.
In a statement, Vodafone said: “We have always said we would like to increase our holding in the business and this further investment demonstrates Vodafone’s long-term commitment to India.”
At present, the group owns 64% of its Indian business. Among the shareholders that it plans to buy out is its chairman Analjit Singh, as well as the billionaire Ajay Piramal. Vodafone is currently awaiting approval from the Indian authorities to increase its holding.
Vodafone is upping its investment in India after selling its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion. According to Indian Telecoms Minister Kapil Sibal, the firm has stated its intention to invest over $2 billion in the country.