Norwegian mobile operator Telenor has reportedly once again initiated talks to acquire NTT Docomo’s stake in Indian operator Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL).
Docomo announced in April it would exercise its option to sell its 26.5 per cent stake in TTSL, which operates under the Tata Docomo brand, as soon as certain conditions were met. The Japanese operator acquired the stake from the Tata Group in 2009 for JPY266.7 billion ($2.22 billion). The Tata Group holds 59.5 per cent of TTSL.
If a deal is reached, Telenor reportedly would merge the unit with its Uninor joint venture, which has less than a 5 per cent market share. Tata Docomo has about an 11.5 per cent share of the country’s 884 million mobile connections, according to GSMA Intelligence.
Back in 2012 Telenor first discussed partnering with TTSL after falling out with its JV partner Unitech following the Supreme Court cancelling Uninor’s licences in February of that year. Telenor partners with Tata Group on a number of initiatives, including a joint investment in a global IT services business.
Meanwhile, Docomo filed a request for arbitration in a London court with Tata Sons, Tata Group’s holding company, which agreed to sell the stake for at least half the purchase price – should certain performance targets be missed, Docomo said in a statement.
Tata Sons had 90 days to find a buyer at a fair market price or half the selling price. Since that deadline has passed, Docomo has moved to arbitration.