Idea Cellular said its had completed the sale of its 9,900 towers to American Tower Corp’s India unit at an ‘enterprise valuation’ of Rs 4,000 cr.
The exact amount that ATC will pay to the telecom operator for the towers is not clear. Enterprise valuation includes the money payable to creditors as well as shareholders.
“Vodafone ’s sale of its standalone tower business to ATC has already been completed earlier for an enterprise value of Rs. 38.5 billion (Rs 3,850 cr),” pointed out Idea.
“Post the completion of Vodafone India and Idea merger, around Rs 6,300 co-located tenancies of the two operators on the combined standalone tower portfolio will collapse into single tenancies over a period of two years without the payment of exit penalties,” added the company.
In addition, Vodafone India and Idea, as well as ATC, will treat each other as long-term preferred partners, it added.
“The receipt of both these proceeds prior to completion was anticipated and provided for , in the Vodafone India and Idea merger agreement and hence would not affect the agreed terms of the merger, including the amount of debt which Vodafon e will contribute to the combined entity at the closing of merger transaction,” Idea added.
The move by the two companies to sell the towers will strengthen the financial position of the merged entity, it said.
Interestingly, there is no word yet from the government on giving approval to the merger of Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
The deal has been approved by practically all regulatory bodies, but cannot be consummated until the government also gives its nod.
Any delay in the approval benefits rivals like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, and Idea and Vodafone have been keen for the government to not delay the approval.
Once DoT gives its approval, the two players will be able to kick the merger process into high gear and start offering more competitive services in the market currently dominated by Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel.