ibnlive » Business

Jun 20, 2007 at 04:54pm IST

Vodafone wins Hutch-Essar bid

New Delhi: The long-drawn ‘bid battle’ for Hutch-Essar finally came to an end on Sunday as UK telecom giant Vodafone acquired India's fourth largest mobile venture for an estimated enterprise value of US $19 billion (Rs 85,000 crores).

Essar welcomed the offer and said it is indeed “good price” for the company.

“This is a good price, which reflects the premier position of Hutchison Essar as India's leading operator. Essar owns 33 per cent of the company and we are delighted that Hutchison and Essar have together created this value,” said the company in a statemnt.

Sources told CNN-IBN that Vodaphone has offered Essar to become a partner firm. The board is evaluating the option and is likely to appear with a decision shortly. “We have been offered by Vodafone to be their partner. We are at the moment evaluating all our options in the best interest of the Group,” said Essar in a statement.

Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile phone group by revenue, emerged winner at the Hutchison Telecom Ltd's Board Meeting at Hong Kong convened for considering the four bids for its 67 per cent stake put on the block late in 2006.

Essar, a conglomerate, that owns 33 per cent of Hutchison-Essar Limited has 21 days time to decide on whether to exercise its RoFR (matching the top bid) or the tag-along right (to sell its 33 per cent stake in the venture).

The company’s India operations expects reaching out to 180 million mobile phone users by end-2007, up more than 25 per cent from 143 million now.

Hutchison Telecom first announced in December last year that it had been approached by various bidders for acquisition of its stake in the Indian venture.

This was followed by announcements by Vodafone, Reliance Communications, Essar Group and Hindujas expressing their interest in the acquisition.

STATEMENT ISSUED BY ESSAR GROUP
bulletVodafone's offer values Hutchison Essar at around US $19 billion (Rs85,000 crores). This is a good price which reflects the premier position of Hutchison Essar as India's leading operator. Essar owns 33 per cent of the company and we are delighted that Hutchison and Essar have together created this value. We have been offered by Vodafone to be their partner. We are at the moment evaluating all our options in the best interest of the Group.

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