Vodafone Buys Essar’s 33 percent Stake For $5 Billion

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Vodafone Essar, country’s second largest mobile service operator in terms of revenue and third largest in terms of subscribers announces that the Essar Group has exercised its underwritten put option over 22% of Vodafone Essar Limited (‘VEL’).

Following the exercise by the Essar Group of its put option, Vodafone has exercised its call option over the remaining 11% of VEL owned by the Essar Group resulting in a total cash payment of US$5 billion.

The British telecom major Vodafone Plc and its two Indian shareholders IDFC and Analjit Singh will acquire Essar’s stake at a predetermined price. Final settlement is anticipated to be no later than November 2011.

Vodafone Group’s published net debt figure already includes this US$5 billion.Vodafone is one of the world's largest mobile communications groups by revenue with approximately 359 million customers in its controlled and jointly controlled markets as at 31 December 2010.

Vodafone Essar, in which Essar /Ruia grop had a 33% stake, has existed in various forms since the mid 1990, when it started operations as "Max Touch" in Mumbai telecom circle. After some time It was renamed as 'Orange' and subsequently 'Hutch', before Vodafone took a controlling interest in the Indian company.

British parent company Vodafone Plc will hold 75.4% stake in the Indian unit (Vodafone Essar) after today’s transaction, while entities controlled by Indian shareholders will hold the rest 24.6%.

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