Govt completes exit from Tata Communications; Airtel to dilute stake for Telemedia takeover

22 Mar 2021

The Indian government has completed the sale of its remaining 10% stake in Tata Communications to Panatone Finvest – part of the Tata Sons conglomerate – in an off-market trade, the Economic Times reports. The company was established by the Indian government as Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) in 1986 and held a monopoly on international telecommunications services in India until 2002. The operator was wholly-owned by the Indian government until 1992, and in 2002 it offloaded a 25% stake plus management control to Panatone Finvest. The government had held a 26.12% stake in the company – which become Tata Communications in 2008 – since 2006, but announced plans to complete its exit from the company earlier this year. To that end, the government offered for sale shares representing a 16.12% equity stake to retail and non-retail investors over a two-day period on 16 and 17 March, and finalised its sale of the remaining 10% stake to Panatone Finvest the following day.

In a separate development, meanwhile, Bharti Airtel has agreed to allot around 36.47 million shares to Lion Meadow Investment – an affiliate of Warburg Pincus – as part of a deal to acquire the latter’s 20% stake in Bharti Telemedia. As a result of the transaction, Lion Meadow will hold a roughly 0.664% equity stake in Bharti Airtel.

India, Bharti Airtel, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Tata Communications