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America Movil Reported to be Interested in Indian Investment

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At least four companies are currently in negotiations to take a stake in India's Datacom which was recently granted a mobile license covering the whole country. Over the weekend, it was reported that Carlos Slim's America Movil is one of the potential bidders for the stake which has been variously valued at around USD3 billion. Under Indian rules, foreign ownership is restricted to 74% of any telecoms operator.

America Movil said in a statement the company does not comment "on rumours or speculations regarding non-official information of acquisitions, sales, associations or ventures."

UAE based Etisalat, Turkey's Turkcell and France Telecom have also been named recently as interested bidders for a stake in the company.

Datacom was recently awarded GSM licenses in all of India's 22 license circles and is currently waiting for the radio spectrum to be allocated.

Datacom's parent company, Videocon had previously announced plans to invest around USD1.4 billion in telecoms - which it has now raised to USD2.8 billion for a GSM tender which is understood to have been sent to vendors a few weeks ago.

In a separate development, talks between Videocon and Motorola over a possible purchase of Motorola's handset division have continued over the past couple of weeks. "I have thrown my hat in the ring. And they will say it is a good hat as it is an Indian hat," Venugopal N. Dhoot, the chairperson and managing director of Videocon, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on trade pacts in May.

Videocon is an industrial conglomerate with interests all over the world and based in India. The group has 17 manufacturing sites in India and plants in China, Poland, Italy and Mexico. Turnover in 2007 was USD4.7 billion.

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Tags: motorola  etisalat  france telecom  america movil  turkcell  radio spectrum  datacom  videocon  India