Seeking to thwart any possible legal challenge from Mukesh Ambani-led RIL, the Anil Ambani group firm RCOM is tying up with some global private equity and sovereign funds for acquiring a majority stake in South African telecom major MTN, a report said on Thursday.
"A consortium led by Indian billionaire Anil Ambani is considering taking a majority stake in South African mobile operator MTN to help stave off a potential legal challenge from his elder brother, Mike's Ambani, to the deal that has been under discussion," a report in Financial Times said.
The report quoted an unnamed person familiar with the deal that a special purpose vehicle controlled by Anil Ambani with co-investment from global private equity and Middle East sovereign wealth funds would own 51 per cent of MTN under the proposed new structure.
Earlier reports had said that it could be MTN acquiring a majority stake in RCOM, after which Reliance Industries warned off a legal action in letters sent to South African telecom firm and RCOM, claiming such a deal would breach a right of first refusal it has over the sale of a controlling stake in the Anil Ambani group company.
A possible amalgamation deal between RCOM and MTN, exclusive discussions for which started between the two parties late in May, could create a combined entity worth an estimated 70-80 billion dollars.
According to the Financial Times report, the old structure had Anil Ambani and his co-investors planning to acquire a 40-45 per cent stake, against about 51 per cent being discussed now.