Axiata hikes stake in Idea Cellular to 19.98%

Malaysia's mobile mobile telecom major Axiata Group Berhad has acquired an additional 0.9-per cent stake in Idea Cellular raising its holding to 19.98 per cent, much short of triggering an open offer for the Indian firm's retail shareholders.

 Axiata has bought about 29.8 million shares at Rs103 a share through stock market transactions, Idea said in a stock exchange notice.

The Malaysian firm, which paid a total of Rs306.7 crore, had a 19.08-per cent stake in Idea as on June 30, 2011.

The acquisition touching a 25-per cent stake would have triggered an open offer for retail shareholders of Idea Cellular, as per new rules of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) guidelines.

On 28 July 2011, markets regulator SEBI said that an entity buying 25 percent stake in a listed firm will have to mandatorily make an offer to buy additional 26 percent from the public shareholders.

Idea Cellular, India's third largest listed telecom operator, has an equity capital of Rs3,303.94 crore.