The Worlds Largest Mobile Phone Company Vodafone Acquired Hutch

By: Ian Ball

The world's largest mobile phone company Vodafone on Friday officially announced that its was looking to acquire a controlling stake in India's Hutchison-Essar, ending a week long speculation about its intentions. It announced announced its readiness to buy 'in cash' Hutch-Essar, India's fourth largest mobile operator being valued up to $17 billion. It becomes the first player to throw the hat in the ring.
PTI has quoted the group's media relation director Bobby Leach as saying Vodafone as saying that it "would fund any consideration in cash.. UBS are our advisors and have been advisors on a substantial number of transactions for Vodafone" He was asked about the financial arrangements and advisors for the Indian venture, where Hong Kong-based HTIL has 67 per cent equity. Neither the 23.7 billion ponds (Rs.2,06,625 crores revenue)Vodafone nor other contenders have made a formal bid for Hutch-Essar Ltd (HEL), with sources indicating that both Vodafone as well as Reliance Communications are waiting for the other to make a move first.
Earlier in the day, Vodafone posted a statement on its website which said that it has noted recent speculation regarding a potential acquisition of Hutchison Essar in India. "The board of Vodafone continues to believe the mobile market in India has great potential and is therefore considering the acquisition of a controlling interest in Hutchison Essar," the statement said.
It further said that "such a transaction would be consistent with its stated strategy of seeking selective acquisition opportunities in developing markets.

"it however noted that "the process is at an early stage and may or may not lead to a transaction." A further announcement will be made in due course," it said. Vodafone is expected to come up with a formal bid any time on Friday, say sources. With European markets nearly reaching the saturation point, Vodafone is trying to gain a foothold in the Indian market that is growing at a rate of more than 50 lakh new subscribers every month.
In a separate statement Hutchison also for the first time confirmed that it has been approached by various potentially interested parties regarding a possible sale of its equity interests in Hutch Essar, the company's mobile operations in India. It said "No agreement in respect of such possible sale has been entered into up to today's date." Hutchison said "There is no assurance that a sale may result from these approaches."
As well as in India, Bharati Airtel on Friday said that Vodafone has informed the company about its interest in making a bid to acquire Hutch.Vodafone has a 10 per cent stake in Bharti and will have to exit from Bharti if it takes over Hutch. Bharti however was silent on the non-complete clause and did not disclose whether it was considering to waive the non-compete clause with Vodafone or whether Vodafone has started talks to sell its stake.
As per the non-compete clause, Vodafone cannot operate in the same circles where the Airtel is functioning till one year from the date of ending the agreement between the two companies the Ruja's of Essar are still maintaining a stony silence, sticking to the stand that they are not selling. Most of the people is going to famous brands in the world.
Mr.Ravi Ruia, vice-chairman of Essar had been in London this week and though the company spokesperson denies it is in connection with the Vodafone developments, sources say that Vodafone has been in talks with them. Sources say that they would rather partner with or sell out to Vodafone, than sell to Reliance. Reliance has become silent in the last two days and is expected to show its cards after Vodafone declares its bid price for Hutch.

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