The Indian wireless market has been a bit of an M&A soap opera lately, and over the weekend another merger was announced, though not an unexpected one. Vodafone has agreed to merge its Indian unit with Idea in a $23.2B deal.
The combined company will serve just under 400M subscribers, taking over the top marketshare slot in the country. At about 35% of the market, it will pass Bharti Airtel, whose agreeement to acquire Telenor's Indian unit last month only boosted it to just under 30%.
A plethora of competition, some of which was introduced when Reliance Jio entered the market, has led to price wars in India and prompted consolidation. The deals currently in play will take some time to work their way through regulators of course. Today's Vodafone/Idea deal isn't expected to be finished up early next year. In addition, the state owned BSNL and MTNL may also be combined, according to reports.
After it all shakes out, Vodafone will control some 45.1% of the combined company. The Indian billionaire Kumar Managalam Birla's holding companies will own some 26%, and the balance will be in public circulation.