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Bharti Infratel extends deadline for Indus Towers merger to February 24, 2020

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 24, 2019 Published on December 24, 2019

File photo   -  THE HINDU

According to the agreement signed last year, the deal was to be completed by October 24, 2019

Telecom infrastructure provider Bharti Infratel, which is yet to get approvals from the Government for its merger with Indus Towers, has once again extended the deadline for closing the deal to February 24, 2020. The deal, which would have created the world’s second largest telecom tower firm, was signed on April 23, 2018.

“We wish to inform you that the requisite Government approvals have not been received till date, and consequently, conditions precedent could not be completed within the extended timeline, that is December 24, 2019,” Bharti Infratel said in a regulatory filing.

The company’s board has further extended the long stop date till February 24, 2020, subject to agreement on closing adjustments and other conditions, it said.

The completion of the merger is “contingent upon receipt of requisite regulatory approvals and fulfilment of other conditions precedent”, and there can be no assurance that the merger can be completed within the extended time-frame, it added.

According to the agreement signed last year, the deal was to be completed by October 24, 2019, but was extended to December 24, 2019, as the firms did not get the requisite approvals.

The deal needs regulatory approvals including that from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Finance Ministry among others. The merger had received certain clearances including that from the National Company Law Tribunal’s (NCLT) Chandigarh bench in June.

ALSO READ: Competition panel clears merger of Bharti Infratel-Indus Towers

Indus Towers is a three-way joint venture between Bharti Infratel, Vodafone Idea and UK-based Vodafone Group. While Bharti Infratel (in which Bharti Airtel holds a 53.51 per cent stake) and Vodafone Group hold 42 per cent stake in Indus, Vodafone Idea holds a 11.15 per cent stake and the remaining 4.85 per cent is held by private equity firm, Providence.

According to the contours of the deal, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India were to have have equal rights in the merged entity, which with more than 1.63 lakh towers would be the second largest telecom tower company, after China Tower.

On April 25, 2018, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular (along with its subsidiary ABTL, Idea Group) and Vodafone Group entered into an agreement to merge Vodafone’s, Idea Group’s and Providence Equity Partners’ shareholdings in Indus Towers into Bharti Infratel creating a combined company that will own 100 per cent of Indus Towers.

ALSO READ: Indus Towers to merge with Bharti Infratel to create world’s largest tower co

Published on December 24, 2019
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