Bharti Airtel and Tata on Thursday announced that they have entered into an understanding to merge Consumer Mobile Businesses (CMB) of Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Limited (TTML) into Bharti Airtel.
The acquisition is subject to requisite regulatory approvals, the statement said without revealing the acquisition amount.
The merger is being done on a debt-free cash-free basis, except for Bharti Airtel assuming a small portion of the unpaid spectrum liability of Tata's towards DoT, which is to be paid on deferred basis, the statement added.
As part of the agreement, Bharti Airtel will absorb Consumer Mobile Businesses (CMB) of TTSL and TTML across the country in 19 circles (17 under TTSL and two under TTML).
"This is a significant development towards further consolidation in the Indian mobile industry and reinforces our commitment to lead India's digital revolution by offering world-class and affordable telecom services through a robust technology and solid spectrum portfolio," said Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal.
"On completion, the proposed acquisition will undergo seamless integration, both on the customer as well as the network side, and further strengthen our market position in several key circles. The customers of Tata will be able to enjoy India's widest and fastest voice & data network, and bouquet of Airtel's best-in-class products and services," he said.
"The acquisition of additional spectrum made an attractive business proposition. It will further strengthen our already solid portfolio and create substantial long term value for our shareholders given the significant synergies," Mittal added.
The Bharti Board, which met on Thursday afternoon, has approved this transaction. The Boards of Tata Sons, TTSL and TTML, too, have given their approval.
"We believe today's agreement is the best and most optimal solution for the Tata Group and its stakeholders. Finding the right home for our longstanding customers and our employees has been the priority for us. We have evaluated multiple options and are pleased to have this agreement with Bharti," said N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons.
Goldman Sachs (India) Securities Private Limited is financial advisor to Tata.
The transaction will also provide Bharti Airtel with an indefeasible right to use (IRU) part of the existing fibre network of Tata.