labels: hutchison essar
Bidding process for Hutch-Essar to start soon news
09 February 2007

Mumbai: The bidding process for the 67-per cent stake in Hutchison Telecom International Limited (HTIL) in the Indian telecom venture, Hutch-Essar, is expected to start soon.

HTIL has sent communications to various players asking them to submit their bids by evening on February 9, sources close to the development said. HTIL, however, declined to comment. Parties interested in acquiring the stake also refused to comment.

The UK-based Vodafone, Hindujas and Indian entities like Reliance Communications and Essar (Hutch's Indian partner in the JV with a 33-per cent stake), have evinced interest in buying HTICL's 67-per cent stake.

While Essar maintains that they have the first right of refusal (RoFR) and need not submit any bid, the Hindujas are still to complete the due diligence process and is expected to complete the exercise next week.

Although HTIL's 67-per cent stake is being valued at up to $20 billion, the two suitors - Reliance Communication and Vodafone - have said they would be conservative while bidding for Hutch''s stake.

Reports quoting sources familiar with the developments, meanwhile, said the Hinduja group is teaming up with Qatar Telecom to bid for control of Hutch-Essar, intensifying competition for a slice of the world's fastest-expanding wireless market.

HTIL, a unit of Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa, has been soliciting bids from interested parties for its 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Essar.

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Bidding process for Hutch-Essar to start soon