Bharti Airtel Said to Be Close to Announcing Loop Mobile Purchase
Published on: 16th Feb 2014
By: Ian Mansfield
India's Bharti Airtel is reportedly close to announcing a deal to buy Mumbai based Loop Mobile bringing to an end over a year of speculation about the future of the smaller mobile network.
Dubai-based IP Khaitan owns the Mumbai based mobile network and has long been said to be looking for a buyer.
Citing unnamed sources, the Economic Times said that a deal worth around Rs 700 crore, including some Rs 400 crore of debt is likely to be announced within a few days following the latest round of talks between the two companies.
The move is a turn around, as last September, Bharti Airtel denied that it was interested in buying the company.
Although Loop Mobile is the dominant operator in Mumbai with around 3 million customers, it has limited coverage outside the region.
The deal would be primarily a customer base and infrastructure one as Loop Mobile's licenses expire later this year, and it did not win replacement spectrum in the recently concluded auction.
Bharti Airtel however acquired spectrum in the city in the 900Mhz band, which compliments the spectrum that Loop Mobile is vacating.
There had been allegations in the past that India's Essar Group was the actual controllers of the company and wanted to use it to launch their own nationwide service following the sale of their stake in Vodafone India.
In early 2011, the Essar Group reduced its public 9.9% stake to 1.5%.
On the web: Economic Times