Five major players are in the race to pick up a substantial stake in Hutchison-Essar, say sources working on the deal.
Among them are two top Indian corporate giants — Anil Ambani, and the Ruia-owned Essar Teleholding, the latter already holding 33 per cent share in the company. The three others who have submitted bids are the global mobile telecom giant Vodafone Group Plc, the Malaysian telecom major Maxis and the Egyptian major Orascom, which too already has a 10 per cent stake.
Anil Ambani's consortium includes private equity investors Blackstone Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and the Carlyle Group, while Essar has teamed up with another consortium of private equity players managed by Morgan Stanley. Maxis is in partnership with Texas Pacific Group (TPG), the private equity firm owned by Vivek Paul, while Orascom is backed by Qatar Telecom.
The bids will be opened on Tuesday in London.
Ravi V Prasad, a leading telecom consultant said, "The intense bidding shows the potential of Indian telecom sector," said Ravi V Prasad, telecom consultant. "It also shows that certain foreign companies which had quit the sector earlier, unhappy with its regulatory policies are returning with a big bang."