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Vodafone Idea hires Bank of America, Morgan Stanely for Rs 13,000 crore Fiber Sale

Vodafone Idea Ltd has hired Bank of America Corp and Morgan Stanley to help sell its fiber assets as it seeks to bolster its finances.

The bankers will initiate discussions with potential buyers for the fiber assets, which could be valued at as much as Rs 13,000 crore, sources said.

Sources also said that a final decision is yet to be made on the valuation and the stake to be sold, and the company could bring in more banks for the sale.

A deal, if successful, would help the phone-service provider add to the funds its been raising to pare debt and fend off rivals Bharti Airtel Ltd and billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, an upstart that upended the market after its debut in 2016. In April, Vodafone Idea raised Rs 25,000 crore from a rights issue, building a war chest as India readies for a 5G network.

Vodafone Idea, which was formed by the merger of Vodafone Group Plcs local unit with tycoon Kumar Mangalam Birlas Idea Cellular Ltd, has reported losses in every quarter since the deal was announced in 2017.

Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea top the list of Asian peers with highest borrowings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mumbai-based Vodafone Idea is in the process of transferring all of its fiber assets into a separate company before the sale. The unit has about 158,000 kilometers (98,177 miles) of fiber, according to a presentation posted on its website in February.

Shares of Vodafone Idea fell 5.4 per cent on Thursday, the biggest drop in almost two months. The stock declined 50 per cent this year, while the Sensex rose 7.8 per cent.

Source: The Hindu