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Private Equity Investors Eying Stake in India's Viom Networks

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Private equity firms are eyeing a stake in the Indian tower network operator, Viom Networks, even as the company looks to seek an overseas stock market listing.

Private equity groups, giants Apollo, Bain Capital and Advent Internationa have been suggested as seeking a significant, but minority stake in the tower owner. A stock market listing at the same time would give them an easier route out of the tower operator at a later date.

A listing has been talked about in London or Singapore, but is thought to be at least six months away.

Plans for an IPO on the stock market were cancelled in 2011, reportedly by Tata. Viom is managed by SREI group, but the Tata group holds 54% of the equity.

Last year the company said it was looking for private equity investors to take a stake ahead of an IPO, but now it looks likely that if any such deal is agreed the investment, and the listing could be concurrent.

The development comes days after US tower giant, American Tower was also reported to be eying a possible deal to buy the company outright.

Viom Networks operates around 42,000 towers and more than 95,000 tenancies. It was formed in January 2009 from the merger of the tower networks owned by Wireless Tata Telecom Infrastructure (WTTI) and Srei group's Quippo Telecom Infrastructure (QTIL).

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