India’s telecoms secretary has confirmed that the planned merger of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India, which will create a new market leader, has reached the final stages of the approval process.
Department of Telecoms secretary Aruna Sundararajan has revealed that only the foreign investment and licence departments have yet to provide clearance for the deal. Several authorities have already granted approval, including the National Company Law Tribunal and Securities and Exchange Board of India.
The process is being fast-tracked by India’s authorities, with the deal on track for completion in the first half of 2018, as planned by both Vodafone Group and Idea Cellular parent Aditya Birla Group. Both firms have been readying their businesses for the merger by divesting assets; Idea has also turned to other means of generating funds.
The companies recently announced that Vodafone India COO Balesh Sharma will be the CEO of the merged entity.