Telenor of Norway has announced that its Uninor subsidiary in India is not considering any mergers or acquisitions in the country until the government publishes new regulations covering such deals. The government recently revised rules covering foreign ownership of telecoms operators, with overseas investors now permitted to take full control of domestic telcos. Yogesh Malik, chief executive of Telenor in India, has told the Wall Street Journal: ‘We await clarity in the sense of rules, in the sense of regulations, in the sense of terms for mergers and acquisitions and spectrum fees.’ The government is expected to publish new regulations covering tie-ups in the communications sector as early as next month.
Uninor has licences covering six telecoms circles – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh East and Uttar Pradesh West – which between them cover around half of India’s population. It had 31.68 million subscribers at the end of March 2013 according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. Telenor recently bought out its partner in Uninor, real estate firm Unitech, and it has signed an agreement with Lakshdeep Investments & Finance to merge Uninor into a new entity dubbed Telewings, which will be 74%-owned by Telenor and 26% by Lakshdeep.