SBI Mutual Fund and Bharti Airtel were two of the buyers of shares of Indus Towers that were offloaded by Vodafone Group Plc in bulk deals on the NSE. The British telecom operator said it sold 48.47 crore shares or 18 per cent stake in Indus Towers through an accelerated book building offering.

The exchange data did not have the full list of buyers and market sources indicated that a few large private equity firms had accounted for a major part of the purchases. Media reports had suggested investment firms Stonepeak and I-Squared Capital had shown interest in acquiring the shares.

SBI MF acquired 3.6 crore shares or 1.3 per cent stake at ₹311.40 apiece for a total amount of ₹1,121 crore. Bharti Airtel, said it had acquired 2.7 crore shares or 1 per cent stake in the tower company, taking its stake in the tower operator to nearly 49 per cent. Exchange data showed the shares were acquired at ₹320 apiece for a total of ₹864 crore.

Vodafone said it raised ₹15,300 crore or €1.7 billion in the sale, “which will be used to substantially repay Vodafone’s existing lenders in relation to the outstanding bank borrowings of €1.8 billion secured against Vodafone’s Indian assets”. Prior to the stake sale Vodafone held 21.05 per cent stake in Indus Towers, all of which are pledged.

Post the stake sale, Vodafone holds 82.5 million shares in Indus, equivalent to a 3.1 per cent shareholding, it said.

On Tuesday a term sheet had showed that Vodafone had intended selling only about 9.94 per cent stake of Indus Towers but on Wednesday morning the shares on offer was revised and scaled up, based on higher demand from investors. Shares of Indus Towers ended 3.1 per cent lower today, but as of Tuesday its stock price had appreciated around 40 per cent over a three-month period.