The UAE's Etisalat is closing in on the estimated $3 billion acquisition of a 26% stake in mobile operator Reliance Communications, according to insiders.
The sources told theFinancial Times that as part of the preparations Etisalat is considering merging RCom with Swan Telecom, a JV in which Etisalat owns a 45% stake.
This merger would be necessary to get around Indian rules on foreign investment, which limits foreign ownership to 10% of two telecom companies.
But foreign companies can own up to 74% of a single mobile operator.
The sources were split on the timing of the deal, with one saying it could be complete by mid-August and another believing it could take up until the end of the year.
The actual stake purchase could be closed fairly quickly, but the timing hinges on how long it takes to divest the Swan stake, they said.