Fair trade regulator CCI has approved Bharti Airtel’s deal to takeover the loss-making consumer mobile business of the Tata Group.
The deal comes at a time when the telecom sector, bruised by tariff war and mounting losses, is in a consolidation mode as major players seek to cement their position.
Airtel’s proposed acquisition of consumer mobile business of Tata Teleservices and Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) has been “approved”, according to the latest update on the Competition Commission of India (CCI) website.
An Airtel spokesperson declined to comment on the CCI approval.
The deal will also require the approval of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), stock exchanges, National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), and Telecom Department among others.
For Airtel, the deal would be the seventh acquisition in five years.
Last month, Airtel had announced acquisition of Tata Group’s mobile telephony business, almost for free, a move that would boost its spectrum holding and raise subscriber base while saving the Tatas from the prospect of having to shut down the struggling unit.
With the transaction, the country’s largest telecom operator will take over 4 crore customers of Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Ltd (TTML) in 19 telecom circles or zones on “a debt-free cash-free basis”.
As part of the agreement, TTSL and TTML employees in the 19 circles, managing the consumer mobile business, along with 178.5MHz of spectrum across 800, 1800, 2100MHz (3G, 4G) bands would be transferred to Airtel.
While all of the Rs. 31,000 crores debt will remain with the Tatas, Airtel will assume close to 20 percent of the Rs. 9,000-10,000 crore deferred payments for the spectrum.