Electronics major Videocon Industries plans to sell up to 26 per cent stake in its telecom services venture to foreign players. Videocon was among the new players that had got licences in 2008, though at that time the venture was known as Datacom.

 

Many foreign companies are eyeing a stake in its telecom venture. It may dilute a stake of up to 26 per cent as soon as it gets good valuation. The company's valuation is at Rs 12,000 crore and likely to go up considering the rapid expansion it has undertaken.

 

The company, which has licences to offer GSM-based mobile services in 22 circles, recently started operations in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Mumbai. It has set an aggressive target of achieving 100 million subscribers in three years when an operator such as Bharti Airtel took about 10 years to reach 100 million.

 

Videocon has earmarked Rs 15,000 crore for rolling out GSM infrastructure. It is also participating in the auction for third generation (3G) spectrum. The valuation may rise in case it wins. This is not the first time Mr Dhoot is looking for a foreign partner for his telecom company.

 

The venture had scouted for a foreign partner but could not push through any deal due to a dispute with another shareholder - HFCL's Chairman, Mr Mahendra Nahata. According to sources in the company, a number of foreign players, including Vivendi, had looked at picking up a stake. The dispute was recently settled after the Videocon Group bought out Mr Nahata's stake. This paves the way for the Dhoot family to look for foreign partners again.

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