Uninor asset auction blocked by law board

Uninor asset auction blocked by law board

India’s Company Law Board has blocked an attempt to auction the assets of Indian joint venture Uninor.

It is believed that the auction was an attempt by Uninor’s 67% owner Telenor to acquire all of the company’s assets and rebuild it into a new venture.

Minority partner Unitech was opposed to the sale and filed a challenge to the Company Law Board to prevent it. Uninor has said that it will appeal the decision.

Last week the quasi-judicial Company Law Board asked Uninor not to proceed with the auction until a further order but the JV was allowed to receive interest from potential bidders.

Telenor and Unitech fell out following the cancellation of the operator’s 22 2G licences in February, as part of a decision by India’s Supreme Court.

The licences were cancelled after it was deemed that the 2008 spectrum auction process was “totally arbitrary and unconstitutional”. Since then Telenor has been looking to form Uninor into a new entity to bid for 2G licences at the upcoming re-auction.

Should Telenor be unable to migrate Uninor’s assets to a new entity it may be left with no choice but to abandon the venture.

Earlier this week it was announced that India’s government would seek approval from the Supreme Court to extend the August 31 deadline imposed for the 2G auction to November 11.

Operators have criticised the government’s decision to set the minimum pricing for spectrum at the auction at 7.4 times higher than in 2008.

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