Axiata said to plan SEA tower company

Dylan Bushell-Embling
Malaysia's Axiata Group is reportedly in talks with India's Idea Cellular over a deal to create a Southeast Asian telecom tower company.
Sources familiar with the talks told India's Economic Times that Axiata is eager to either acquire or merge with Idea's tower assets.
Axiata, which owns close to 20% of Idea Cellular, is believed to be targeting its regional markets with the proposed tower company.
Besides Malaysia, Axiata has controlling stakes in mobile operators in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia. The company also has investments in operators in India, Singapore and Iran.
Idea Cellular owns and operates over 8,000 telecom towers, which have together been estimated to be worth at least $600 million.
The company is also co-owner of the tower joint venture Indus Towers, along with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, and had previously transferred 11,000 of its towers to the JV.
Indus Towers and other Indian tower companies have been forced to postpone plans for their respective IPOs, as their valuations have eroded in recent years.