Is Maxis Com­muni­cations, the promoters of Aircel, looking to exit India?
It would seem so, as "feelers have been sent to a few potential buyers but no discussions are expected before July," according to a source in the know of developments.
Maxis, which is estimated to be holding about 74% stake in Aircel, has in the past explored the option of selling its stake. According to the source, five companies have responded to the feelers sent by Maxis, and this includes leading telecom operators Idea Cellular and Telenor.
Aircel and Idea refused to comment on market speculation.
Aircel's valuation is expected to be high, since it has the attractive 900 MHz spectrum in four circles — Assam, the North-East and Jammu & Kashmir and Tamil Nadu — in its kitty, as well as broadband wireless spectrum in eight circles.
According to a report by market analyst Macquarie Capital, the Indian wireless space is expected to see consolidation in the medium term.
A senior deputy director general in department of telecommunication said any merger and acquisition deal in telecom is unlikely to progress beyond enquiries till the new central government is formed. "The new government may like to have a re-look at the M&A norms."
Opposition parties have been critical of the merger and acquisition norms announced by communications minister Kapil Sibal earlier this year.