The UK’s Vodafone Group may consider an initial public offer (IPO) for Indian mobile network operator Vodafone Essar Ltd within the next year, according to comments made by group CEO Vittorio Colao, cited by the Wall Street Journal. Commenting on the possibility of such a development Mr Colao noted: ‘I would not exclude that in nine months from now, twelve months from now, we will start thinking seriously if we should also have the general public as partner.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, at the end of last month it was revealed that Indian multinational conglomerate the Essar Group had decided to exercise an option to sell a 33% stake in Vodafone Essar, its joint venture with Vodafone Group. Essar is understood to have exercised its put option over 22% of the JV, while Vodafone has in turn exercised its own call option to buy the Indian company’s remaining 11% holding. It is understood that the two major shareholders in the mobile operator have sought to find a compromise on the valuation of Vodafone Essar, and under the terms of the agreement between the two Vodafone Group will pay USD5 billion in cash for Essar Group’s stake, which will boost the British company’s holding in Vodafone Essar to around 75%. The deal is expected to close by November 2011 at the latest.