Telenor "in talks" to sell Indian business to Idea
19 December 2016 | James Pearce
Telenor has begun talks with Idea Cellular over a possible sale of the Norwegian operator’s Indian unit, according to reports in the country.
Idea, which is India’s third biggest mobile operator, would look to add Telenor India’s assets to its own, according to the Economic Times.
Sources familiar with the developments told the ET that the companies had already held negotiations over transferring all assets and liabilities without an actual payout.
One potential stumbling block to any deal is the extra level of debt that Idea Cellular would need to take on following several expensive spectrum auctions, including the one held in October in which it spent around $1.9 billion, according to reports.
The ET claims Telenor India owes around RS 1,900 Crore (£225 million) to the Indian government for deferred spectrum payments, along with debt of Rs 1,800 (£213 million) Crore owed to financial institutions.
Telenor refused to comment on rumours and speculation, the ET added.
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