Etisalat looking for a deal, AT&T denies Reliance talks

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 08 June 2010, 02:56 Hrs
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New Delhi: Abu Dhabi's Etisalat is looking at a deal with Reliance Communications as it considers its options in India, while U.S. telecom major AT&T denied media reports it was in talks with Reliance Communications. A frenzy of deal-making speculation has surrounded the company, the only major local mobile operator in the country without a foreign investor, reports Reuters.

Recently, Reliance Communications had said that it was open to selling a stake of up to 26 per cent to strategic or private equity investors. Talk about a stake sale started soon after controlling shareholder Anil Ambani and his long-estranged brother Mukesh ended an agreement that forbade them from competing on each other's turf, freeing Anil to bring new investors into his debt-laden company.

Reliance Comm's board has approved selling up to 26 percent at a premium, and at current market prices, the stake is worth about $2 billion. The Indian mobile carrier did not give a time frame or any details about a possible deal, but media reports and a person familiar with the matter had previously cited Abu Dhabi's Etisalat and South Africa's MTN as potential partners.

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