Airtel may sell part of landline unit

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net
Indian mobile incumbent Bharti Airtel is reportedly considering selling stakes in its landline and enterprise businesses, in a bid to shave down its large debt burden.
 
The operator is already in preliminary discussions for a sale with some interested buyers, sources told India's Economic Times.
 
The nature of the potential sale has yet to be finalized but Airtel plans to maintain a majority stake of both units, the sources said. The company aims to make the sales at valuations of about 65 billion rupees ($1.15 billion) for the enterprise business and 170 billion for the fixed-line unit.
 
One option reportedly being considered is merging the fixed line businesses of the company with those of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, using a similar model to the trio's tower sharing joint venture Indus Towers.
 
According to the sources, Airtel's decision to buy Alcatel-Lucent out from the joint venture managing its fixed-line assets earlier this year was motivated by a desire to have 100% control over its fixed business before selling the stake or entering the JV.
 
Other debt reduction measures taken by Airtel recently including this month's agreement to sell 5% of itself to the Qatar Foundation.

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