Aircel to seek clarity on deal with Airtel, RCom

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 12, 2017

Aircel is likely to move an application to the Supreme Court seeking clarity on its ongoing merger with Reliance Communications and 4G spectrum sale to Airtel. The operator has informed the Department of Telecom it was not party to proceedings pending before the apex court and no allegations of wrongdoing has been made against the company per se.

DoT sources confirmed receipt of a letter from Aircel to this effect.

The mega merger between RCom and Aircel is at risk with the Supreme Court threatening to take away the latter’s spectrum if its Malaysian owner T Ananda Krishnan does not appear in court within two weeks. Aircel has also sold its 4G spectrum to Airtel.

Though the Supreme Court had only restrained the transfer of Aircel’s 2G licences to any other telecom company, the operator wants to be sure.

The merger deal was announced in September 2016 under which RCom and Aircel’s Malaysia-based promoters Maxis Communications Berhad will hold 50 per cent each in a newly-created venture, with equal representation on the board. This would have created the country’s third-largest mobile operator by subscriber base enabling both RCom and Aircel to stay relevant in a highly competitive telecom market dominated by bigger players such as Reliance Jio and Airtel.

But all this could come undone if Aircel’s Malaysian owner does not comply with the Supreme Court order. The court’s action comes after Ananda Krishnan refused to appear in court in a case related to a deal done in 2005. Bharti Airtel had acquired Aircel’s 4G spectrum in eight circles for ₹3,500 crore in April 2016.

Published on January 12, 2017
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