Dec 20, 2006

Reliance communication proposed merger with Aircel

Reliance Communication is believed to have proposed a merger with Aircel, to win over Maxis (the Malaysian telecom company holding 74% stake in Aircel) in joining the Reliance-led consortium in its bid for Hutchison Telecom's 52% stake in Hutch-Essar. Maxis would be offered shares in Reliance Communication in proportion to the funds it brought in. Maxis presently operates in 9 circles, if it joins the consortium and they are able to acquire the Hutch-Essar stake, it would immediately have access to all 23 circles in India, which it otherwise plans to reach by 2009. Reliance is believed to have opened negotiations with Maxis because if Ruias, who hold 33% stake in Hutch-Essar, were unable to buyout Hutchison Telecommunication International's stake, then Maxis would be its main challenger. In a related development, Bharti Airtel has clarified that it is not bidding for a stake in Hutch-Essar.

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