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$1.8bn Aircel towers deal to Amarchand, Wadia

Mobile phone tower
Mobile phone tower

Wadia Ghandy Mumbai and Amarchand Mangaldas Delhi have helped GTL Infrastructure in acquiring Aircel's telecom tower business in an all-cash deal valued at Rs 8,400 crore ($1.84bn).

GTL outbid rivals Tata-Quippo in buying out 17, 500 telecom towers of Aircel in what is believed to be the largest all-cash transactions in India.

Wadia Ghandy advised Global Group Enterprise-owned telecom infrastructure company GTL and Amarchand acted for Aircel, which is a part of Malaysian group Maxis Communications Berhad.

Wadia partner Suzann Suvarna led the team along with senior associate Fariyal Tahseen and associate Jigmet Yangchen for the buyer.

Suvarna said: "What I'm given to understand is that it is the largest cash asset deals in India making it unique in a sense."

"The way the deal is structured ensures that it is a going forward business relationship - where it's not a pure purchase of assets," she added. "There is going to be a continuing relationship with Aircel to provide Aircel with tower base support and its growing needs as on date and future right of first refusal for potential businesses in as some of the terms."

"Lots of work has gone into it, in fact it is still ongoing. One of the more important aspects is a proposed scheme that has to be filed in the High Court. It is one of the important CPs [conditions precedent] in addition to a lot of other CPs that have to be complied with."  

Amarchand partner Gunjan Shah, principal associate Dharini Mathur and principal associate designate Purva Chadha acted for Aircel.

"This is a transformational deal for GTL Infra, Global Group and the Indian Telecom Industry. It significantly enhances our scale and presence, cementing our leadership in telecom infrastructure space," GTL Infra chairman Manoj Tirodkar said in a press release.

The company plans an investment of Rs 14,000 crores ($3.1bn) for the development of telecom infrastructure sector in India, out of which it hopes to raise Rs 3,400 crores in equity and the balance through debt.

India's fifth largest GSM service provider Aircel in turn aims to use the funds generated through this transaction for increasing its subscriber base.       

Being subject to regulatory and other approvals, the transaction is likely to get completed over the next five months, according to the press release. The financial advisors included Citi and Barclays for GTL Infra and Nomura, Rothschild and Standard Chartered for Aircel.

Desai & Diwanji was understood to have helped Tata-Quippo in its failed takeover negotiation bid for the same Aircel's tower assets, as reported by Legally India in September 2009.

Photo by kiwanja

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