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Unitech ‘ready to sell JV’ to Telenor
22 March 2012
India’s Unitech seeks valuation for sale of 33% stake in Indian operator Uninor to Telenor
Indian real estate firm Unitech may be ready to sell its 33% stake in mobile venture Uninor to Norwegian partner Telenor. Unitech is in principle prepared to sell the stake, provided there is a fair valuation, reported Reuters, citing an unnamed source. Telenor said it will look to move the Uninor business to a new firm at a fair market value.
Sigve Brekke, managing director of Uninor and head of Asian operations for Telenor, declined to reveal if Telenor was open to buying out Unitech.
The move follows India’s cancellation of 122 mobile licences granted in a controversial sale in 2008, including 22 Uninor licences. The supreme court in February 2012 directed the government to hold an auction to redistribute the spectrum and licences.
After the court’s licence cancellation, Telenor accused Unitech of fraud and misrepresentation and said it would move the business to a new venture to gain new licences, but Unitech argued that Telenor could not independently decide to terminate the joint venture and that it had the right to block asset transfers, according to the report.
However both went to arbitration. A quasi-judiciary body, the Company Law Board, asked Unitech to decide to either buy out Telenor’s stake in Uninor or sell its own stake to Telenor.
Meanwhile Uninor has appealed to India’s supreme court to direct the government to auction 2G spectrum by June 2, contesting the telecommunications ministry’s estimate that the auction process would take a minimum of 400 days from the February 2 decision.
Brekke said the telecommunications regulator should fix the same base price for the 2G auction as that in 2010’s 3G auction. Uninor also wants the government to let winners pay bid prices in phases. GTB
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