According to reports, Indian telecommunications giant Reliance Communications has approved a plan to sell a minority stake in itself. The rumored names include AT&T (NYSE:T, news, filings), Dubai's Etisalat, and Africa's MTN Group, but apparently the only one on this list actually far along in talks is Etisalat which is said to be eyeing a 26% stake for something in the neighborhood of $4B. Other strategic alternatives are apparently on the table as well.
Now ordinarily I'm not all that interested in the potential sale of a stake in one PTT to another. But this one has some relevance to earlier news. Remember over the winter when Reliance Globalcom was said to be for sale? Globalcom was assembled from the Flag undersea cable assets, Yipes, and Vanco and the price tag was said to be some $3B, while the company denied it was even for sale. Despite that denial, if a buyer had actually materialized at such a price, I'll bet they wouldn't be taking the steps they have today.
So what do they need the money for? More and more wireless buildout expenses apparently. They are spending $1.9B on more spectrum, and will be rolling out 3G and/or WiMAX as well.
Who wins the stake? Actually I'd put my money on Etisalat. I figure MTN is probably sick of the whole idea by now, and it just doesn't feel like AT&T is going to want to spend that money prior to its LTE buildout.
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