Goldman Sachs, I-Sec to handle govt’s stake sale in Tata Comm

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on February 11, 2021

The government is believed to have shortlisted ICICI Securities (I-Sec) and Goldman Sachs as merchant bankers from among 11 firms to manage the sale of its 26.12 per cent stake in Tata Communications Ltd (TCL). The government is planning to divest its stake in TCL, formerly Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), through an offer for sale (OFS) and strategic sale by March 20, 2021.

The shortlisting came after the merchant bankers – including Axis Capital, Credit Suisse Securities, Elara Capital and others – made their sales pitch before the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) through video-conferencing on Tuesday.

“ICICI Securities and Goldman Sachs were shortlisted after initial rounds of presentation; however, official mandates are yet to be issued,” a source close to the development told BusinessLine. When contacted, I-Sec declined to comment.

The others in the fray were IDBI Capital Markets & Securities, IIFL Securities, JM Financial, Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, SBI Capital Markets and YES Securities India.

Indian firms keen to buy

According to the sources, a number of telecom, telecom infrastructure firms, Operations Support System (OSS) and Internet firms among others have evinced interest in acquiring the stake held by the government. The majority of companies interested in the stake are Indian firms and companies with presence in the country, they added.

While their names could not be immediately ascertained, proposals would be invited once merchant bankers are finalised, sources said.

A central public sector enterprise, VSNL was privatised in 2002 with the divestment of 25 per cent stake along with transfer of management control to a strategic partner, Panatone Finvest. Following the disinvestment, the firm’s name was changed to TCL.

The promoters hold 74.99 per cent in TCL; government 26.12 per cent, Panatone Finvest 34.80 per cent and Tata Sons (14.07 per cent). The remaining 25.01 per cent is held by public.

The Government was expecting to raise about ₹8,000 crore from TCL's disinvestment.

Published on February 11, 2021

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