UK telecom giant Vodafone has offloaded its 5.6 per cent direct stake in India's mobile leader Bharti Airtel to promoter Sunil Mittal's group for $1.6 billion, coinciding its acquisition of controlling stake in Hutch-Essar.
"Vodafone has sold its 5.6 per cent direct stake in Bharti Airtel to the group," Bharti Group Chairman Sunil Mittal said, elaborating that the deal was on a deferred payment basis.
Vodafone will, however, continue to hold an indirect 4.4 per cent stake in the Company, as a financial investor and will not have any representation on Bharti Airtel's board nor any management rights.
Mittal, whose group brought Vodafone to India by making that company a strategic partner, said: "We are pleased to welcome Vodafone and congratulate them on their Hutch acquisition.
"Today, the Indian telecom sector is one of the most sought after in the world and the bid is a strong endorsement of the government policy to promote the Indian telecom sector."
He said that Bharti and Vodafone have enjoyed a very fruitful relationship and both the companies will work with the Industry to connect millions of people across India.