Airtel to acquire 4.7% stake in Indus from UK’s Vodafone

Bharti Airtel on Friday said it has entered into an agreement with UK-based Vodafone Group Plc to acquire a 4.7 per cent stake in Indus Towers for cash through a block deal.

“Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) has entered into an agreement with Vodafone to purchase 4.7% equity interest in Indus Towers, on the principal condition that the amount paid is incorporated by Vodafone as new equity in Vodafone Idea (VI) as well as remitted to Indus Towers to clear the dues of VI,” the Suni Mittal-led telco said in an official statement.

The deal will increase Airtel’s stake in Indus to 46.4%.

Vodafone Group Plc on Thursday raised around Rs 1,443 crore by selling 2.4% stake in Indus Towers through a block deal to undisclosed investors, just a day after the Airtel-Vodafone deal was announced.

Airtel did not immediately share financial details of the deal, but the company said the “acquisition purchase will take place at an attractive price, which represents a significant discount, which is usually available for such large block transactions”.

Shares of Airtel closed 2.64% higher at Rs 688.45 on BSE on Friday, after the market hours after the deal was announced.

The company said that Airtel is also “protected with a limited price, which is lower than the block price of Indus shares sold by Vodafone on February 24, 2022.”

It added that the deal would be valuable to Airtel and protect its existing significant stake in Indus Towers.

On Wednesday, UK’s Vodafone said it was in talks with one of Indus’s largest shareholders to sell 4.7%. People familiar with the matter had told ET that Bharti Airtel was the shareholder. The UK company also said it was in talks with “a number of interested parties” to sell its remaining stake in the tower company.

Vodafone has said that the cash it raises through these stake sales will be used for loss-making Vodafone Idea. The UK company and India’s Aditya Birla Group, in their capacity as co-promoters, wish to subscribe to an issue of equity shares by VI.

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