Bharti Airtel said that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Axiata Group Berhad to merge their respective subsidiaries in Bangladesh that are Robi Axiata Limited (Robi) and Airtel Bangladesh Limited. The agreement follows the September 9, 2015 announcement of both parties entering into an exclusive discussion to explore possibility of combining the business operations in Bangladesh. Upon completion, Axiata will hold 68.3% controlling stake in the combined entity, while Bharti will hold 25%. The remaining 6.7% will be held by the existing shareholder, NTT DOCOMO of Japan.
The proposed merger is set to strengthen the industry structure, competitiveness and, more importantly, bring greater benefits to customers in terms of network quality and coverage and an improved offering of data products and services.
Post-merger, the combined entity operating as Robi will serve around 40 million customers. The joint strengths of Robi and Airtel will deliver the widest mobile network coverage across Bangladesh, strengthening its position in the mobile internet segment as well as consolidating its position as the second largest operator in the country.
The proposed transaction is subject to conditions precedent including receiving applicable approvals from relevant authorities and is expected to complete in the first half of 2016.