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Vodafone in talks to sell 5% stake in Indus Towers to Airtel

Vodafone Group Plc. is in talks to sell around a 5% stake in Indus Towers Ltd. to Bharti Airtel Ltd., the largest shareholder of the telecom infrastructure provider, PTI reported.

The deal is expected to be valued at more than Rs 3,300 crore, and the proceeds will be pumped into the Indian entity Vodafone Idea Ltd., PTI reported citing industry sources.

To be sure, the British carrier has informed the London Stock Exchange that it is in “advanced discussions with one of the largest shareholders in Indus for the purchase of up to 127.1 million (12.71 crore) Indus shares from Vodafone, or 4.7% of Indus’ outstanding share capital”. It, however, didn’t disclose the name of the shareholder.

Vodafone Group and Bharti Airtel didn’t immediately respond to BloombergQuint’s emailed queries.

Vodafone Group currently holds 75.8 crore shares in Indus Towers, constituting 28.1% of the shareholding. Of these, 19.1 crore shares—equivalent to 7.1% of the shareholding—are currently pledged to Indus Towers as part of security arrangements entered into between Vodafone and Indus Towers at the time of the merger of Indus Towers with Bharti Infratel Ltd.

Should the sale be completed, Vodafone would retain 56.72 crore shares in Indus Towers or a 21.0% shareholding. Vodafone is also in discussions with several parties for a potential sale of residual shareholding, the London Stock Exchange statement said.

Indus Towers has around 1.85 lakh telecom towers, and is present in all 22 circles. It deploys, owns and manages telecom towers and communication structures for various carriers. BloombergQuint

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