Airtel, Vodafone may sell stakes in merged tower company

03 May 2019

India's Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Group are reportedly in talks to sell more than half of their respective stakes in the tower company that will be created through the merger of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers.

Bharti Infratel is Bharti Airtel's tower division, while Indus Towers is an independently managed tower company jointly owned by the Bharti Group and Vodafone Idea.

The combined entity is expected to have a market valuation of $12 billion to $13 billion and have a portfolio of over 160,000 towers.

According to a report in India's Economic Times, which cites unnamed sources, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Group are aiming to bring their stakes in the combined company down to around 13% each after the merger.

The operators are looking to sell part of their stakes primarily to existing investor, global investment firm KKR, the sources said.

KKR could eventually hold between 25% and 32% of the combined company, with minority stakes held by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and some other investors.

The stake sales could be worth around $3.2 billion for Bharti Airtel and $2.1 billion for Vodafone Group, the report states.

It also asserts that the Vodafone Group may plan to eventually exit its investment in the company, and that the merger is likely to close in June.

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