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Airtel places ₹3,000-cr bid for RCom assets

Bharti Airtel has placed bids worth ₹3,000 crore for the assets of the beleaguered telecom operator Reliance Communications (RCom). The New Delhi-based company has placed a ₹950-crore bid for the spectrum assets of RCom, ₹100 crore for Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) and another ₹1,900 crore for the tower and fibre assets under Reliance Infratel (RITL), sources close to the development said.

Airtel has, however, put a condition that its bids should be considered only if its offer for all the three companies are accepted. In other words, Airtel does not want to buy a single firm or asset that has been put up for sale under the insolvency process. The condition put forth by Airtel could be a deal breaker because at ₹3,600 crore, Reliance Jio Infocomm’s (RJio) bid for the tower and fibre assets is the highest. RJio has not bid for RCom’s other assets. The Committee of Creditors (CoC) is expected to meet next week to take a call.

Total assets

RCom’s assets include spectrum, tower, fibre, media convergence nodes and real estate, housed under three companies — RCom, Reliance Telecom and Reliance Infratel (RITL). RCom and RTL hold spectrum, while RITL has tower and fibre. Bharti Airtel’s bid is for all the three companies, and the company does not want to buy a single firm or asset.

When contacted, the companies declined to comment.

RJio has only bid for RITL, that is for tower and fibre assets, and has given “full leeway” to the CoC to decide on the distribution of proceeds, sources said. The company had committed to make the payments within 60 days. RCom had received a total of 11 bids from four companies for the assets housed under the various subsidiaries. Apart from RJio and Sunil-Mittal backed Bharti Airtel, PE firm Varde Partners and UV Asset Reconstruction Company (UVARCL) were the others in the fray.

Varde Partners and UVARCL have also bid for all the three companies, and have offered to monetise the assets including spectrum and distribute proceeds to the lenders.

Final price

The process of finalising the bids will take a minimum of one to two weeks as the CoC will have to meet every bidder and negotiate a final price. Following the negotiations, the CoC will have to finalise a bidder based on voting by the members, sources added.

The last date for the completion of the resolution process is January 10, 2020, following an extension received from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) earlier. However, the process is likely to overshoot this deadline, the sources added.

Source: The Hindu