Airtel, Telenor approach NCLT for merger approval, after Sebi nod
Sebi, and the stock exchanges BSE and NSE have already approved the Airtel-Telenor merger that will give India’s largest telecom firm presence in seven circles
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New Delhi: Bharti Airtel Ltd Thursday said it had received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the country’s top exchanges—Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange—to merge Telenor (India) Communications Pvt. Ltd with itself.
Airtel and Telenor have also filed a joint application before the New Delhi bench of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for approval of the merger. In a statement, the firm said the merger also requires approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI)
“Telenor India and Airtel have today (Thursday) filed the joint company application before the New Delhi Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal for approval of the proposed scheme of merger. The merger is inter alia subject to other statutory approvals including from the Competition Commission of India,” Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
Airtel had on 24 February said it would acquire the assets of Telenor ASA’s India business, as the country’s biggest telecom operator seeks to preserve its position in a market where new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s aggressive pricing has spurred a wave of consolidation.
As part of the deal, Airtel will assume the Telenor unit’s liabilities related to licence fees and lease obligations for phone towers. The deal, which won’t involve any cash payments to Telenor, will give Airtel access to 43.4MHz of spectrum in the 1,800MHz band—widely known as 2G spectrum but it is now being used for 4G services as well—and expand its presence in seven telecom circles, namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and Assam.
“These circles represent a high population concentration and therefore, offer a high potential for growth. The proposed acquisition will include transfer of all of Telenor India’s assets and customers, further augmenting Airtel’s overall customer base and network,” the statement said.
PTI contributed to this story.