CCI approves Bharti Airtel's acquisition of Telenor's Indian unit

James Pearce
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Regulator has given the thumbs-up to Indian operator's move to buy Norwegian firm's assets in India

Bharti Airtel today said the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the proposed merger of Telenor India with the company. 

The Norwegian company has only 44 million customers in India, compared with Airtel’s 269 million. In January it was revealed that Telenor owes nearly $280 million to the Indian government in spectrum fees and nearly $270 million in debt to financial institutions for the business.  

Telenor did not take part in India’s October 2016 spectrum auctions, a move widely believed to have signalled its intention to leave the country.  

Under the terms of the merger, Airtel will take over outstanding spectrum payments and other operational contracts, including tower leases. That implies that Airtel may be paying only a token price for the Telenor India business.  

"We wish to inform you that Competition Commission of India (CCI) vide its letter dated June 5, 2017 has approved the proposed merger of Telenor (India) Communications Pvt Ltd with Bharti Airtel Ltd," the company said in a BSE filing.