The battle for Hutchison Essar entered a decisive stage on Friday, with three of the four contestants in the fray meeting the midnight deadline for submitting their bids. All three bids have been submitted by e-mail.
On the block is the Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd’s (HTIL) 67 per cent stake in the telecom major, for which the British telecom giant Vodafone Plc, the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications, Essar, which controls the remaining 33 per cent stake and the Hindujas are all vying. The first three have submitted their bids, while the Hindujas have sought a day’s extension.
An HTIL board meeting is likely to be called on February 11 to approve the bidding process, said sources close to the deal. This will be followed by an extraordinary general body meeting.
These sources said the first two bids were in the vicinity of $18-20 billion (Rs 81,000-90,000 crore), while Essar’s was somewhat lower.
“We have been informed that after receiving the bids, HTIL will reveal the highest price offered to each of the remaining bidders separately,” said one of the bidders. “Each of those whose bids are lower will be asked if they want to revise their bid. It will be very similar to the bidding over Corus (which was bought by Tata Steel after a furious bidding war with Brazil’s CSN).”