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Mittal yet to hear from Vodafone on Hutch

There are speculations that once Vodafone is through with acquiring Hutch, it would exit Bharti.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2006 15:08 IST

Sunil Mittal's Bharti, in which British telecom firm Vodafone has 10 per cent stake, on Thursday said it is yet to hear a final word from the UK-based operator on its plans to buyout Hutchison Telecom's stake in Indian joint venture Hutch-Essar.

"We have not heard from Vodafone on their final position on Hutch-Essar," a Bharti spokesperson said.

There are speculations that once Vodafone is through with acquiring Hutchison Telecom's stake in India, it would exit Bharti by paying a premium.

Bharti's response comes on a day when Vodafone and Essar submitted offers for Hutchsion Telecom's stake in Hutch-Essar, triggering a bidding war for the Indian mobile operator that is being valued up to $18 billion.

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 confusion in the 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.

First Published: Dec 28, 2006 15:08 IST