A merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular may be subject to “closing adjustments” before a completion in 2018, to account for a recent slip in the latter’s earnings.
Indian publication Business Standard reported Idea’s owner Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Group commenced talks on potential adjustments, citing a source close to the situation. The main focus of the talks is losses Idea incurred since the deal was struck earlier this year.
However, when contacted by Business Standard, a Vodafone Group representative denied the company was renegotiating the terms, adding it was working to secure regulatory approval for the deal.
Vodafone and Aditya Birla Group agreed to merge their Indian operations in March, a move intended to create the country’s largest mobile operator with the combined entity at the time holding a value of $23.2 billion. Under the terms of the original agreement, Vodafone would own 45.1 per cent of the merged business and Aditya Birla Group 26 per cent. The companies predicted the deal would complete in H1 2018.
However, since the deal was struck Idea, India’s third largest operator behind Vodafone and current leader Bharti Airtel, reported a loss of INR11.76 billion ($182 million) in its fiscal Q2 (ending 30 September) and a 20 per cent year-on-year decline in consolidated revenue as the company and the market continues to struggle in the face of increased competition from Reliance Jio.
An unnamed banker told Business Standard: “in any merger, it may not be in the interest of shareholders of one company if the other is merged with higher-than-projected losses”.