Idea Cellular, India’s third largest wireless operator by subscribers, on Wednesday received board approval to raise up to Rs 3,500 crore by way of a Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP). On January 30, the telecom operator had received shareholders’ approval for the QIP.

“The board has authorised the Committee of Directors to decide the timing, pricing and exact quantum of equity shares to be issued,” Idea Cellular said in a regulatory filing. On February 12, Idea Cellular had raised Rs 3,250 crore through a preferential allotment of shares to the promoter, Aditya Birla Group entities. Following the allotment, the shareholding of the promoter group in Idea rose ito 47.2 per cent from the earlier 42.4 per cent. The telecom operator had allotted 32.66 crore equity shares at Rs 99.50 per share, it had said in a statement.

Idea Cellular, which is close to merging its operations with number two operator Vodafone India, said earlier in January that it was in the process of raising up to Rs 6,750 crore in equity. The company had said it intended to raise the remaining through a preferential allotment, qualified institutional placement, rights issue or any other route that the board decides.

Additionally, the recently announced sale of Idea’s and Vodafone India’s standalone towers to American Tower Corporation for about Rs 7,850 crore and the potential monetisation of Idea’s 11.15 per cent stake in Indus Towers, will further augment the long-term capital resources of the company. These proceeds will significantly strengthen the balance sheet of the merged entity, Idea and Vodafone India, it said in a statement.

At 2.26 pm, Idea Cellular shares were trading up 0.94 per cent at Rs 85.50 on the BSE.