NCLT greenlights Tata takeover

22 Jan 2019

India’s National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the acquisition of Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) by Bharti Airtel, leaving clearance from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) as the only remaining regulatory hurdle for the deal, the Economic Times reports. Airtel signed an agreement in October 2017 to take over Tata’s consumer mobile business on a cash-free and debt-free basis. Airtel had originally been expected to pay around 15%-20% of the roughly INR100 billion (USD1.4 billion) in remaining spectrum liabilities for TTSL, but the DoT had requested further clarity on the arrangement, and in October last year Tata and Airtel said that the latter company would take on the payment, covering licence fees, spectrum usage charge and one-time spectrum charges. TTSL’s parent Tata Sons would fund the payment, however. Through the acquisition Airtel will gain access to Tata’s subscriber base – which totalled 22 million users at the end of September 2018 – and a portfolio of 178.5MHz of spectrum across the 850MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands.