India's RCom 'to sell group firm to Bahrain Tele'

Anil Ambani smiles during the annual general meeting of Reliance Power in Mumbai on September 4, 2012. Indian mobile phone firm Reliance Communications (RCom) owned by Ambani will sell a majority stake in a telecom subsidiary to a Bahrain Telecommunications-led group for $1.1 billion, a report said Monday
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Indian mobile phone firm Reliance Communications (RCom) owned by Anil Ambani will sell a majority stake in a telecom subsidiary to a Bahrain Telecommunications-led group for $1.1 billion, a report said Monday. The funds raised from the sale of the stake in Reliance Globalcom will help RCom reduce its hefty debt estimated at $6.7 billion, the Times of India said, quoting a source the newspaper said was close to the deal. "RCom will sell an 80 percent stake in its subsidiary, Reliance Globalcom, to a consortium led by Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco)" for around 60 billion rupees ($1.1 billion), the Times of India said. Reliance Globalcom provides voice, Internet and other communication services and operates a US fibre-optic network and a management services business. The Ambani group may also sell off its direct-to-home broadcast business to Sun Group based in south India for around $360 million, the newspaper added. RCom shares rose as much as 6.74 percent to 67.25 rupees on the back of the report. The Batelco-led consortium would include private equity firms, the newspaper added. RCom would retain a 20 percent stake in Reliance Globalcom initially but has the option to sell that as well, the report said, adding the deal could be closed by May-end. An RCom spokesman told AFP the company would not comment on "speculative news". There was no immediate comment available from Batelco. Last week RCom signed a $220 million deal with Reliance Industries' group telecom firm, led by Anil's elder brother Mukesh, to share their fibre-optic communications networks. The agreement between the billionaire Ambani brothers, who had battled for the spoils of their late father's business empire, was the first tangible sign of a corporate reconciliation.

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