International telcos eyeing Cingular’s stake in Idea

17 Jun 2005

A line-up of foreign investors have registered an interest in buying a stake in Indian cellco Idea Cellular, currently held by Cingular Wireless. Telekom Malaysia, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Holding, Sistema of Russia and Norway’s Telenor are among those to have come forward so far, with several major equity houses also planning to join the race, according to local industry sources. Telekom Malaysia previously lodged a USD390 million joint bid with Singapore Technologies Telemedia for the stake, but failed to obtain approval from the Indian regulator within the required six-month period. This time around, Idea will launch a ‘restricted’ bidding process, according to local press, with the aim of completing the bidding process at the earliest possible stage. Another name recently linked to the Cingular stake is the Aditya Birla group.

India, Vi (Vodafone Idea Limited, VIL)