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Hindujas, QTel, Altimo join hands for Hutch-Essar

Hindujas are among the first to submit a binding bid for a controlling stake in India's fourth largest mobile player.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2007 16:56 IST

NRI business group Hindujas have joined hands with Qatar Telecom and Russian telecom giant Altimo in the race to acquire Hutch-Essar, which has reached a decisive stage with bids pouring in from various suitors.

Hindujas have already submitted a binding bid for acquisition of controlling stake in India's fourth largest mobile player and contrary to speculation have not sought any extension for making its offer, sources close to the development said.

They discarded suggestion that Hindujas-led consortium had put up a non-binding bid while seeking some more time for a firm offer.

The bid from Hindujas, as also from Reliance Communications, Essar and Vodafone, are expected to be consideredon Sundayby the board of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom International (HTIL), which has put its 67 per cent stake on the block.

Spokesperson from either Hindujas, Qatar Telecom or Altimo could not be contacted for comments.

Various reports had suggested that Hindujas sought a day's extension from HTIL for submitting its bid as it was still in the process of completing due diligence for a possible deal.

According to the merchant banking sources, HTIL's board of directors is scheduled to discuss various bids, including that of Hindujas, tomorrow.

While an HTIL spokesperson was not available for comments, the sources close to the development said it could still be a long-drawn battle before a final outcome is reached for the takeover deal.

The bids have been made in the range of 16-20 billion dollars of enterprise value for entire Hutch-Essar, sources added.

Meanwhile, Wall Street Journal quoted Hinduja Group Chief Financial Officer Prabal Banerji as saying that Hinduja Group has submitted a bid but that it was still conducting its due diligence.

According to WSJ report, the bids value the company about 3 per cent higher than the 16.5 billion dollars previously offered by some of the bidders in non-binding proposals several weeks ago.

First Published: Feb 10, 2007 16:10 IST