Viom confirms interest in Rcom tower arm

Melissa Chua
10 Jun 2011

Telecom tower firm Viom Networks has expressed interest in buying a stake in Reliance Communications’ tower arm Reliance Infratel.

Viom, a JV between Tata Teleservices and India’s infrastructure financing Kanoria family, said it might consider a partnership with a private-equity firm if the deal went through.

Viom’s director Sunil Kanoria told the Wall Street Journal formal talks had not begun.

Purchasing a stake in Reliance Infratel would help Viom in its plans to add up to 25,000 towers in the next two years. Viom now has 38,500 towers while Reliance Infratel has 54,000 towers.

Reliance Communications has been looking to reduce its $7 billion debt as of March this year and said last month that it had received several indicative offers for the sale of its tower arm.

GTL Infrastructure had last year called off a potential $9 billion deal to merge tower assets with Reliance Infratel, citing differences in valuation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, other potential bidders who have expressed an interest in purchasing a Reliance Infratel stake include American Tower Corporation and Etisalat. But Reuters reported Etisalat’s group senior VP of corporate communications, Ahmed Bin Ali, saying the company was not considering an acquisition of the tower company.

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