Vodafone sells its 4.2% stake in Bharti Airtel for $200 million

UK telecom major Vodafone has exited Bharti Airtel Ltd by selling its remaining 4.2-per cent stake to Bharti Enterprises (Holding) Pvt Ltd for $200 million. The sale follows the new norms for issue of unified licences by the department of telecommunications.

The unified licence regime prohibits holdings by any group in more than one licensee company in the same service area.

Vodafone had picked up a 10-per cent stake in Bharti Airtel in 2005 (See: Vodafone completes 10-per cent acquisition in Bharti).

Following its entry into the Indian market with its buyout of Hutchison Whampoa's stake in Hutch Essar, Vodafone had brought its stake in Bharati Airtel down to 5 per cent.

Vodafone has confirmed the sale of its 4.2 per cent interest in Bharati Infotel Pvt Ltd, through its "wholly-owned subsidiary (in India)" to Bharti Enterprises (Holding) Pvt Ltd.

"Vodafone confirms that it has sold, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, its shareholding in Bharti Infotel Private Limited, representing an approximate 4.2 per cent interest in Bharti Airtel Ltd, to Bharti Enterprises (Holding) Private Limited for $200 m," the company said in a statement.

"The disposal follows the new unified licence regime in India published by the Department of Telecoms which prohibits the holding by a group of an interest in more than one licensee company in the same service area," the statement added.