Tata power company set to buy up DoCoMo’s stake in Indian operator

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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An unsuccessful partnership between India’s Tata industrial giant and NTT DoCoMo is set to end when Tata Power buys up the rest of the shares

India’s biggest power generating company is set to take over a 26.5% stake – worth more than $1.1 billion – in mobile phone company Tata DoCoMo after three-year court wrangle.

The dispute started in 2014 when Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo decided it no longer wanted its share in the joint venture, Tata Teleservices, which was set up in 2009. Tata Teleservices still operates as Tata DoCoMo.

Under the 2009 deal the Tata holding group, Tata Sons, was expected to find a buyer for NTT DoCoMo’s share. No company has come forward and now another member of the Tata empire, Tata Power, is expected to pay the $1.17 billion for the stake.

Tata Sons is the biggest single shareholder in Tata Power, though many parts of the Tata empire have cross-investments in one another. Tata Power and Tata Steel are believed to have held some of Tata’s shares in Tata Teleservices from the start. Tata Power said last week that it would buy the shares formerly owned by NTT DoCoMo.

The long-running dispute over the shares has been argued in the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Reserve Bank of India, Competition Commission of India and the Indian High Court.

NTT DoCoMo began the proceedings in 2015 after it said Tata Sons had not met an obligation to find a buyer for the shareholding. The LCIA ruled in June 2016 that the Tata group should pay damages of $1.17 billion to its former business partner.