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Vodafone pens merger deal with Idea Cellular in India

Tyrone Stewart

British multinational telecoms firm Vodafone has agreed to merge with Idea Cellular, a mobile network based in Mumbai, to create the largest telecoms operator in India.

According to the pair, the combination will have nearly 400m customers and account for 35 per cent customer market share, along with 41 per cent revenue market share.

Vodafone’s Indian arm, Vodafone India, will own 45.1 per cent of the joint company, while Idea’s parent company – the Aditya Birla Group – will own 26 per cent and Idea’s other shareholders the remaining 28.9 per cent. The transaction is expected to close at some point in 2018, subject to customary approvals.

“The combination of Vodafone India and Idea will create a new champion of Digital India founded with a long-term commitment and vision to bring world-class 4G networks to villages, towns and cities across India,” said Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone Group. “The combined company will have the scale required to ensure sustainable consumer choice in a competitive market and to expand new technologies – such as mobile money services – that have the potential to transform daily life for every Indian.”