Malaysian interest in Indian telecom does not seem to be ending. After the Maxis – Aircel and Telekom Malaysia – Spice deals, there are reports that Malaysia?s state investment firm – Khazanah Nasional Bhd is in talks to buy a one-third stake in Idea Cellular.
Khazanah might take up a 33% stake conglomerate Aditya Birla was selling in Idea, Malaysia?s Edge weekly said.The Aditya Birla group has recently doubled its stake in Idea to 98% by buying out the Tatas. Birla has stated that it wants to cut its holding to 65%, but not through a sale to another mobile operator. Khazanah would be a good bet for Birla as it is a financial investor with government links.What is interesting to note here is that Telekom Malaysia, which recently bought a 49% stake in Spice, is controlled by Khazanah. Therefore, Idea and Spice will have a common investor in Khazanah if the deal goes through. Whether this leads to the merger of Idea and Spice is anybody?s guess.