Birla, Colao meet telecom minister

Discuss Vodafone-Idea merger

Birla, Colao meet telecom minister

 Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao met with Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha on Tuesday to discuss the contours of the Vodafone-Idea merger deal.

The two top honchos, flanked by senior executives from both companies, called on the minister to discuss the details of the mega alliance, in a meeting that lasted half an hour.

Vodafone India and Idea Cellular on Monday agreed to merge their operations to create the country’s largest telecom operator worth more than $23 billion with a 35% market share.

The combined entity of Vodafone and Idea Cellular, which are currently India’s number two and three, respectively, will dislodge Bharti Airtel to counter the fierce price war in the world’s second-largest market.

Emerging from the meeting, both Birla and Colao declined to share details of the discussions or take specific queries.

The two companies announced on Monday that the British firm will own 45.1% of the merged entity while the Aditya Birla Group, Idea’s parent company, will own 26% after paying Rs 3,874 crore cash for a 4.9% stake. The remaining 28.9% will be held by other shareholders.

The new company, which will come into being over the next two years, will be headed by Birla while Vodafone will have the right to appoint chief financial officer.

The CEO and the chief operating officer will be appointed with approval of both companies. The two firms will have three nominees each on the board of the new entity.

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