Loop Mobile denies report of being up for sale

Loop Mobile yesterday denied a report that it is selling itself, for which it was negotiating with Norway's Telenor. Loop mobile said, said, "Loop Mobile categorically denies the alleged information and finds it highly speculative in nature," a spokesperson said told the newspaper. A Standard Chartered spokesperson said that the bank 'does not comment on speculation".

The Economic Times had yesterday reported that the owners of Loop Mobile, one of Mumbai's oldest cellular networks, have put the company up for sale and were looking at a valuation of about $450 million.

Loop's main shareholders are Kiran Khaitan, the sister of Essar group's founders Shashi and Ravi Ruia, and her husband IP Khaitan, The report said quoting two people said to be familiar with the development.

The rerport said the single-circle company had appointed Standard Chartered as the financial advisor for the deal. Loop Mobile has over 3 million customers and is the fifth largest operator in Mumbai.

Loop Telecom, a group firm, holds permits in the remaining 21 circles, but these were quashed by the Supreme Court in its 2 February verdict when it cancelled all the licences issued by former telcom minister A Raja in 2008.

The company is not participating in the upcoming spectrum auctions to renew its permits in these 21 regions.

Interestingly Telenor too declined to provide a specific reply.