Airtel, Reliance Jio among firms keen on buying RCom stake, assets
New Delhi: About a dozen companies, including Bharti Airtel Ltd and Reliance Jio Ltd, have evinced interest in buying majority stake or some of the assets of debt-laden Reliance Communications (RCom).
While Airtel is keen to buy a select spectrum or airwaves as also some equipment held by RCom, others have shown interest in buying majority stake, companies and people privy to the development said.
Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Sistema (which merged its business in RCom) are also in fray along with Telstra Australia, Telekom Indonesia. Global PE firms KKR, Carlyle Group, TPG Capital are also said to have expressed interest, they said.
Loss-making RCom, which last month announced shutting down of its 2G and 3G mobile telephony business by 30 November, is saddled with Rs44,300 crore of debt. To tied over the problem, it has presented what it calls a ‘no-loan write-off’ plan where lenders are to convert Rs7,000 crore of debt into equity. Lenders are yet to accept the offer of taking 51% stake in the company through a debt swap.
People aware of the development said expression of interest (EoI) were invited for sale of majority stake in RCom, with companies having option to also evince interest in any asset they would like to buy.
Reached for comments, an Airtel spokesperson said: “We have expressed our interest only in buying select spectrum and some equipments”.
An email sent to Reliance Jio did not elicit a response while Vodafone declined to comment on the matter.
People also said these are just expression of interest or showing of preliminary interest and price bids would be invited later after deciding if the company is to be asset stripped and sold, or the firm is sold as a going concern.
RCom’s ‘no-loan write-off’ plan also involves repaying of up to Rs17,000 crore loans out of proceeds of monetisation of spectrum, tower and fibre assets. An additional Rs10,000 crore would be paid by selling real estate in the Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City in Mumbai and other properties across eight metros.
On Wednesday, RCom shares rose 0.32% to Rs15.60 while the benchmark Sensex shed 0.46%, or 151.95 points, to end the day at 33,218.81.
Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.