labels: hutchison essar, telecom, vodafone, reliance communications, m&a
Reliance Communication board clears Hutch bid as Vodafone woos Essar news
10 January 2007
Mumbai: The board of Reliance Communications (RComm) has authorised its chairman Anil Ambani to pursue the acquisition Hutchison Wampoa''s stake in Hutch Essar Ltd (HEL), including raising long-term resources for the deal.

RComm cleared Anil Ambani''s proposal even as UK''s Vodafone as well as Essar stepped up the pace in pursuit of Hutch-Essar. The RComm board also authorised Ambani to take all necessary steps for a possible acquisition of the telecom operator and raise long-term resources in the form of external commercial borrowings.

The board has also approved the issue of foreign currency convertible bonds in overseas markets worth up to $1 billion. Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin, meanwhile, met the finance, commerce, and communication ministers and briefed them about the company''s future plans in India''s fast-growing telecom sector.

Essar group chairman Shashi Ruia who said his bankers have started confirmatory diligence for a deal, also called on finance minister P Chidambaram but did not elaborate on what transpired.

Separately, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel, in which Vodafone holds 9.9-per cent stake, called on Maran here.

While Vodafone is keeping options to partner Essar in the joint venture open, Sarin said after meeting Chidambaram that India was a growing market and fits well in Vodafone''s plans.

"Absolutely," was Sarin''s reply when asked whether Vodafone would join hands with Ruias-promoted Essar, who he termed as a good partner.

While communication minister Dayanidhi Maran said he wanted good players to enter the country, commerce minister Kamal Nath asked the UK telecom giant to follow best commercial practices in its bid for the acquisition.

"It (a deal) should be done in a transparent manner in accordance with best commercial practices... and in the best interest of all stakeholders," Nath told Sarin, who arrived here early this morning to pursue acquisition of India''s fourth largest mobile venture.

 

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Reliance Communication board clears Hutch bid as Vodafone woos Essar