Axiata considering acquisition of stake in Indian broadband operator?

18 Jan 2012

Malaysian telecoms group Axiata (formerly TM International) is reportedly in negotiations regarding the possible purchase of a stake in Indian broadband operator Tikona Digital. According to The Star Online, which cites ‘three people with knowledge of the matter’, Axiata is understood to have held discussions with Tikona’s current owners, Goldman Sachs Group, Oak Investment Partners and Everstone Capital Advisors; the three aforementioned companies control around 71% of Tikona. A deal for the operator could value Tikona at around USD1 billion, according to two of the unnamed sources, and investing in the broadband provider would allow Axiata to increase its presence in the country, being that it already operates there via its interest in cellco Idea Cellular.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Tikona was one of the winners in the government’s mid-2010 sale of Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum, with the operator walking away with frequencies for Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh; it paid a total of INR10.58 billion (around USD230 million) for the five licences.

India, Axiata, Tikona Infinet