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Bharti in no hurry to buy 4.4% indirect stake from Vodafone

india Updated: Jan 21, 2009 14:10 IST
PTI
Bharti in no hurry to buy 4.4% indirect stake from Vodafone

The Bharti group is in no hurry to acquire the 4.4 per cent indirect stake held by its one time partner Vodafone, according to Chairman Sunil Mittal.

"This is their stock lying in a grandparent company. A stock with no votes or board seats. It's really their call. It has not crossed our minds yet," Mittal told PTI.

Earlier this week Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao had said "one day we will discuss (Vodafone and Bharti Group) what to do with the stake. To have a discussion on any issue we need to have both the partners." In 2005, Vodafone had bought a 10 per cent stake in Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd (BTVL) for Rs 6,700 crore.

In 2007, when Vodafone was in the process of acquiring Hutchison's stake in the Indian venture, it had offloaded its 5.60 per cent direct stake in Bharti Airtel to promoter Mittal's group for $1.6 billion.

But it retained an indirect 4.4 per cent stake in the company as a financial investor with neither representation on Bharti Airtel's board nor management rights.

In 2005 Vodafone, through Vodafone Mauritius Ltd, had contracted to subscribe to shares in Bharti Enterprises, giving it a beneficial stake of 4.4 per cent in Bharti Tele-Ventures for about Rs 3,000 crore.

In addition, Vodafone, through Vodafone International Holdings BV, has also picked up 5.60 per cent of Warburg Pincus' stake in BTVL for approximately Rs 3,700 crore, taking the total beneficial interest in the company to around 10 per cent.

Bharti Airtel shares were down 2.66 per cent at Rs 599 on BSE.

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