Bharti Airtel to acquire Tata’s money-losing mobile unit for nothing
Bharti Airtel Ltd is acquiring the Tata conglomerate’s consumer mobile business virtually free of charge in a deal that gives India’s top wireless player a major subscriber base boost, while stemming the bleed for Tata from a money-losing venture. Bharti Airtel will gain over 40 million customers from Tata Teleservices and a subsidiary along with airwaves the companies own on a “debt-free (and) cash-free” basis, according to a joint statement on Thursday, although Bharti Airtel will take on a “small portion” of Tata’s unpaid dues for its airwaves.
India’s telecoms market, with 1.2 billion mobile subscribers, is in the midst of a wave of consolidation as smaller debt-laden players seek exits after overspending in airwave auctions.
Small players and their larger rivals have also been severely weakened by a price war triggered by new entrant Reliance Jio – backed by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.
Photo courtesy of Peter Haden.