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RCom divesting Indian tower assets to reduce debt

Indian number four Reliance Communications (RCom) is selling its mobile towers to the private equity firms Tillman Global Holdings and TPG Capital Management.

The operator is entering an exclusivity agreement with the companies until January 2016, and while the parties have signed a non-binding term pact for the deal, regulatory approval is required, along with due diligence. RCom has therefore stated that “accordingly, there can be no certainty that a transaction will result”.

While the deal’s value has not been disclosed, India’s Economic Times believes that the final sum could be as much as INR300 billion ($4 billion). For its part, RCom has confirmed that its gains from the transaction would be used “only to reduce its debt”.

A sale of RCom’s tower infrastructure has been tipped for several months now, with various investment firms expressing an interest – among them American Tower Corp, Carlyle and Farallon Capital. RCom has around 45,000 towers, along with India’s largest fibre network.

Between them, Tillman and TPG are taking full control of RCom’s tower assets, with the operator becoming an “anchor tenant” of its former infrastructure. The private equity firms will also “evaluate the purchase of RCom’s extensive nationwide intercity and intra city optic fibre assets, in a separate and independent transaction”.

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