Telecom infrastructure provider Bharti Infratel is believed to have received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) approval for its proposed merger with Indus Towers, a move that would create the world’s second-largest telecom tower firm.

“Now that the critical FDI approval is through, others are a mere formality and hence the approvals should be coming in a couple of weeks,” a source close to the development said.

The deal would still miss the February 24 deadline as certain regulatory approvals, including clearances from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is awaited, sources close to the development told BusinessLine.

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, VIL has an 11.15 per cent stake and the remaining 4.85 per cent is held by private equity firm, Providence Equity Partners.

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The proposal had earlier received Competition Commission of India (CCI) and certain regulatory clearances including that from the National Company Law Tribunal’s (NCLT) Chandigarh Bench in June 2019. Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL), which is selling its entire 11.15 per cent stake, is expected to rake in about ₹4,500-5,000 crore from the deal.

The deal, which was signed on April 23, 2018, was to be completed by October 24, 2019, but was extended to December 24, 2019, and later to February 24, 2020, as the firms did not get all regulatory approvals.

On April 25, 2018, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular (along with its subsidiary ABTL and 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.