American Tower Corp (ATC) is set to secure a majority stake in Viom Networks, a rival in the Indian towers market, with the deal set to be approved this week.
The Economic Times (ET) reports that majority shareholder Tata will still retain a minority interest in the company. The Srei Group, which has held management control in the entity with a minority stake, will exit completely.
Tata could retain up to 26 per cent in the unit as an assurance to ATC that the acquired company will be given tower leasing contracts from operator Tata Teleservices, on a preferential basis.
According to sources, the deal values the whole of Viom, which has about 41,000 towers, at approximately $2.6 billion, including debt of around one third of that amount.
“The ATC board is expected to approve the deal this week, unless there are last minute surprises,” said one of the sources.
Tata presently owns a 54 per cent stake in Viom, while Srei owns 18.5 per cent, and the rest of the company is held by four private equity firms.
According to ET, the private equity firms need to sell their stakes in the company as their seven-year gestation period comes to an end.
Rumours of a possible deal first emerged at the start of the year, and were revived in May after a six month lull following a dispute over price.
Tata and Srei were hoping to secure approximately $3.5 billion for the unit, as both companies look to sell in order to secure resources for other businesses.
ATC presently owns and operates more than 10,000 towers in India.