Vodafone buys stake in Bharti Tele-Ventures
Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s No.1 cellular service provider, has picked up a 10% stake in Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd. for Rs67bn or US$1.2bn. Vodafone Mauritius Ltd. has purchased shares in Bharti Enterprise Pvt. Ltd. (the unlisted holding company), which gives the British cellular service major a beneficial stake of 4.4% in Bharti Tele-Ventures.
The investment from India’s leading GSM-based telecom operator by the British cellular major comes more than a week after the Cabinet cleared the proposed hike in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in telecom, from 49% to 74%.
In addition, Vodafone, through Vodafone International Holdings BV, has also picked up 5.65% stake from Warburg Pincus, thereby taking the total beneficial interest in Bharti Tele-Ventures to around 10%.
The above transactions do not make any change in the direct shareholding of Bharti Tele-Ventures. Bharti Enterprises maintains a controlling interest of 45.9% in Bharti Tele-Ventures through its subsidiary, Bharti Telecom Ltd. With the final sale of its stake, Warburg Pincus has now completely exited its position in Bharti Tele-Ventures. Bharti Enterprises owns 68% in Bharti Telecom, which in turn holds 45% stake in the listed Bharti Tele-Ventures.
Commenting on the occasion, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman & Group Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises, said, "We are delighted that Vodafone has made a call on the Indian telecom sector and has chosen Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd. to be the vehicle to develop its continued interest in the Asian region. Today, when Bharti stands on the threshold of being an Asian telecom powerhouse, it has tied up with Vodafone to take the company to the next level and to support Bharti in achieving its vision of making Airtel the most admired brand in India".
At 12:58 p.m., shares of Bharti Tele-Ventures were trading at Rs327, up Rs15 or 4.8%, over the previous close. Earlier, the stock had touched a high of Rs330.5 and a low of Rs311. Around 1.62mn shares of Bharti Tele-Ventures have changed hands on BSE.