Vodafone India has taken another step towards the closure of its planned merger with Idea Cellular, after the company completed Tuesday the sale of its standalone tower business to ATC Telecom Infrastructure Private Limited (ATC) for 38.5 billion rupees ($592.9 million).
The company announced in November 2017 that it plans to sell its tower business along with Idea Cellular’s to ATC for a combined $1.2 billion, as part of its plan to merge with Idea Cellular to form the largest mobile player in India.
With the completion of the sale of Vodafone’s tower business, a similar announcement is expected from Idea Cellular in the coming months, Vodafone said in a company statement.
“In the Vodafone India / Idea merger announcement of 20 March 2017, both parties announced their intention to sell their individual standalone tower businesses to strengthen the combined financial position of the merged entity. The merger is expected to complete in the first half of the current calendar year,” Vodafone added.
“Completion of Idea’s sale of its standalone tower business to ATC is also expected in the first half of this calendar year.”
In addition, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have also announced a new executive team to lead the merged entity, which will come into effect after the Vodafone India / Idea merger has been completed.
Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla will be the non-executive chairman of the merged Vodafone-Idea entity, while Vodafone India COO Balesh Sharma has been named CEO, Idea’s Akshaya Moondra CFO and his colleague Ambrish Jain COO, Vodafone said in a company statement released late March.