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Idea Wraps Up Tower Sale

AV Birla group company Idea Cellular on Thursday said it has completed the sale of around 9,900 mobile towers to American Tower Corporation’s (ATC) Indian arm for Rs 4,000 crore.

Idea Cellular, which is the country’s third-largest telecom operator by subscribers, said it has completed the sale of its pan-India standalone tower business by divesting its entire stake in ICISL, a 100 per cent subsidiary to ATC Telecom Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. The transaction has been closed with an enterprise value of Rs 4,000 crore.

ATC has already completed the acquisition of Vodafone India’s mobile towers for Rs 3,850 crore, which added nearly 10,200 towers to its portfolio. The proceeds will be used by both Idea and Vodafone to lower the debt of their merged entity.

“The receipt of both these proceeds prior to completion was anticipated and provided for in the Vodafone India and Idea merger agreement and, hence, would not affect the agreed terms of the merger, including the amount of debt which Vodafone will contribute to the combined entity at the closing of merger transaction,” a statement issued by Idea Cellular said.

The deal is expected to bring the Vodafone India-Idea merger closer to completion, leading to the creation of the country’s largest telecom operator with around 430 million subscribers.

Idea Cellular added that after the completion of the merger, 6,300 co-located tenancies of the two operators on the combined tower portfolio will turn into single tenancies over a period of two years without the payment of exit penalties.

“Both Vodafone India and Idea Cellular as customers, and ATC as a vendor, have agreed to treat each other as long term preferred partners, subject to existing agreements,” the company said.

With the closure of deal with Idea, ATC Telecom Infrastructure will have around 68,000 mobile towers in its portfolio. The telecom department had cleared the deal last week.

Shares of Idea Cellular ended marginally lower at Rs 61.65 on the BSE on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Idea announced the roll out of its VoLTE (Voice over LTE) service across six markets that include Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. – Telegraph India

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