India’s largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel sold off a 3.65 per cent share of its telecoms tower unit to a group of global investors for nearly INR25.7 billion ($403 million).
The operator, with a 23 per cent market share, sold 67.53 million shares in Bharti Infratel at INR380.60 per share, The Economic Times (ET) reported.
Bharti Airtel will likely use the funds to reduce its huge debt and finance a nationwide 4G rollout to compete with new rival Reliance Jio, which launched 4G service nearly a year ago. Jio attracted more than 100 million subscribers in a matter of months after offering free voice and data services in a promotion, and forced established rivals to drop prices.
The sale reduces Airtel’s and its wholly owned subsidiaries’ interest in Infratel to 58 per cent.
In March, Airtel sold a 10.3 per cent stake in Infratel to a consortium of investors, led by private equity company KKR and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, for INR61.9 billion ($952 million).
A source told ET the latest sale included some repeat investors from the previous transaction.