Vodafone kicked off its IPO plan in India by selecting Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Kotak Investment Banking and UBS to handle the process, according to Reuters.
The long-awaited IPO, which has been held back due to long-running tax disputes with the Indian government, is reportedly expected to raise between $2 billion-$2.5 billion, and will be used to lower the company’s debt.
The operator, India’s second largest behind Bharti Airtel, is expected to spend big in the country’s upcoming spectrum auction, as well as expand its operations across the country as it attempts to close the gap on the market leader.
Along with the three banks selected, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and ICICI Securities secured joint book runner roles, adds Reuters sources, with the IPO likely to launch early next year.
Vodafone began preparations for the IPO in November, and invited shortlisted banks to make presentations last week to Rothschild, the adviser to the IPO.
In total, 15 banks were invited to make bids, according to the Financial Times.
Vodafone entered India in 2007, and reportedly first made noises about the prospect of listing in the country in 2011.
Its tax row resurfaced earlier this year after the Indian tax department threatened to seize the company’s assets over the outstanding INR142 billion ($2.03 billion) capital gains tax bill, which dates back to 2007.
Vodafone is reportedly fighting three outstanding tax cases in the country.