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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

'Vodafone verdict not to dampen cross-border mergers'

PTI  New Delhi, September 12, 2010
First Published: 12:00 IST(12/9/2010) | Last Updated: 12:02 IST(12/9/2010)

Consultant Ernst & Young on Sunday said the Bombay High Court judgement that the tax department has jurisdiction to impose tax on over $ 11 billion Vodafone-Hutchison deal will not dampen sentiments for cross-border mergers involving Indian assets.

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"I don't think that becomes deal breaker," Ernst & Young Partner (transaction Advisory Services) Navin Vohra told PTI.

He said even before the judgement, players in the cross-border mergers for Indian assets used to factor that there will be a taxation.

"That position has only now firmed up and that will be factored in a deal commercials. This is a cost that seller or buyer has to bear. That's the only thing. I don't think that that dampens the sentiments," he said.

Some experts have said that the judgement may have far-reaching implications on future corporate deals.

The court held last week that the Income Tax Department has jurisdiction to claim dues from Vodafone on the $ 11 billion payment to Hutchison in 2007 for buying its assets, including those in India, even if the deal was signed outside the country.

Legal analysts held that the verdict will not impact fund flows from countries like the US and Japan, but it will help discourage foreign investments that are routed through various tax havens.

They said the verdict may help rein in treaty shopping, a mechanism used by large corporates to route their investments so as to avoid high taxation.

However, market analysts said that private equity inflows and M&A deals by foreign companies involving Indian firms could be adversely impacted, as the court verdict is likely to weigh on overseas investors.

Although the judgement is expected to be challenged in the Supreme Court, for now it could mean a tax liability of about Rs. 12,000 crore for Vodafone.


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