Idea Cellular has said it will buy a 40.8% stake in rival mobile network operator Spice Communications for INR77.3 (USD1.8) per share, with the intention to merge the two entities. In addition, Idea will pay Spice about INR5.44 billion as a non-compete fee. In a regulatory filing, Idea said it and Telekom Malaysia International, which holds 39.2% of Spice, will make an open offer for a further 20% of Spice. The boards of the two cellcos have agreed to merge Spice into Idea, at a ratio of 49 Idea shares for every 100 Spice shares. After the merger process, Idea will make a preferential allotment to Telekom Malaysia of 464.73 million Idea shares, or 14.99% of Idea’s enlarged share capital, at INR156.96 each.