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Vodafone, Essar submit offers

Triggering a bid war for Indian mobile operator Hutch-Essar, UK's Vodafone and India's Essar make their offers.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2006 16:19 IST

Triggering a bid war for Indian mobile operator Hutch-Essar, being valued up to $18 billion, UK-based Vodafone and India's Essar have made their offers to acquire Hutchison Telecom's stake in the venture.

A day after the visit of top brasses of both Vodafone and Essar, British media reported, quoting unnamed sources, that the two suitors have made their respective offers.

Essar, the joint venture partner in Hutch-Essar with 33 per cent stake, has offered $11 billion (about Rs 50,000 crore) for the 67 per cent stake of HTIL, putting the enterprise value of the JV at $16.5 billion.

However, Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone operator, has submitted an offer valuing the company at $17-18 billion, the 'Financial Times' reported.

No comments could be ascertained from Vodafone, Essar and Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom International Ltd.

There was a confusion in Indian media on valuation of Hutch-Essar following an interview by HTIL's parent Hutchison Whampoa's finance director Frank Sixt that the group would not entertain any offer made below $14 billion.

This was construed by many as the valuation of HTIL's 67 per cent stake, thus pegging the enterprise value of the joint venture at $21 billion.