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Airtel refutes talks with Vodafone Group over Indus Towers stake

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In Short:

Indian Telecommunications Service Provider, Bharti Airtel, denied reports of holding talks with UK’s Vodafone Group to acquire a larger stake in Indus Towers. Airtel clarified that it is not in discussions with Vodafone to increase its stake in Indus beyond what is necessary for financial consolidation. This clarification came in response to a news item claiming Airtel’s interest in acquiring Vodafone’s 21.05 percent stake in Indus.

Airtel Denies Discussion with Vodafone Group for Indus Towers Stake

Airtel Denies Any Discussion With Vodafone Group for Indus Towers Stake
Indian Telecommunications Service Provider, Bharti Airtel, denied holding any discussions with the UK’s Vodafone Group to acquire an additional stake in the Tower Company, Indus Towers (Indus). This clarification comes in response to a news item titled “Talk of the Tower: Airtel eyes Vodafone’s 21.05 percent stake in Indus” by ET Telecom earlier today, citing two sources aware of the matter.

Airtel quickly clarified its stance in an exchange filing, stating, “We wish to clarify that Bharti Airtel Limited (Airtel) is not in any discussion with Vodafone Group to acquire such a stake in Indus Towers Limited (Indus). The Company has no desire to raise its stake beyond what is required for the financial consolidation of Indus within the Company, which shall be done as and when appropriate, in compliance with applicable disclosure requirements.”

The news item in question stated, “Bharti Airtel is in talks to buy the UK-based Vodafone Group’s 21.05 percent stake in Indus Towers, which could potentially give India’s second-ranked telco a controlling interest, according to two people aware of the matter.”

“However, talks are stuck over valuation, with the Sunil Mittal-led Airtel unwilling to acquire Vodafone’s stake at the current Indus share price, which has jumped over 77 percent since January. Airtel, instead, wants a valuation of Rs 210-212 a share, or the level at which US private equity fund KKR and Canadian pension fund CPPIB had sold stock in Indus in February 2024,” the news item read.

Airtel’s Stake in Indus

Airtel is the biggest shareholder in Indus, with a 47.95 percent stake, while Vodafone Group holds 21.05 percent, and 30.97 percent is with the public.

Airtel emphasised that Indus is a provider of critical infrastructure services to the telecom industry and that Airtel relies heavily on it. Therefore, Airtel clarified that it will always ensure that Indus remains in robust health and financially stable.

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