Unitech ready to sell JV stake to Norway's Telenor; seeks $150 million

23 Mar 2012

Realty firm, Unitech is open to selling its 32.7% stake in its telecom joint venture with Norway's Telenor ASA and has sought $150 million from the latter. The realty firm's offer takes into account the invested amount of about $125 million as equity into its Unitech Wireless and another spent of $25 million in the initial phase of its development.

Unitech’s proposal to the Company Law Board comes after the quasi-judicial body asked the realty firm to decide by March 19 if it wanted to buy out the 67.25% stake held by Norway's Telenor or exit their joint venture, in order to end the bitter dispute between the two.

A dispute between the two companies, which had been simmering for some time, boiled over after India's Supreme Court on February 2, ordered the scrapping of 122 mobile phone licenses issued without auction since January 2008 to several companies, including Unitech Wireless, stating that the allocations were rigged and underpriced. The affected companies have been allowed to continue operations until the order becomes effective after June 2.

Telenor bought 67.3% of Unitech Wireless in 2008 for about Rs 6,100 crore after the Indian company got the license. It has provided more than Rs 8,000 crore in corporate guarantees to the unit, making it India's second-largest foreign investor in the telecom sector after Vodafone Group PLC.

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