Vodafone and Idea Cellular merger to be completed by March 2018: What this means for other telcos?

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Earlier this year, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular had come to an agreement that the two companies would merge their operations to create the country's largest telecom operator worth of more than USD 23 billion with a 35 percent market share.

Vodafone and Idea Cellular merger to be completed by March 2018

While the specific timeline was not shared, as per a new report from PTI, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular merger deal will likely be completed by March next year. This timeline seems right as all regulatory approvals will most probably be obtained by that time. "There are only two permissions left in the amalgamation scheme of the Idea and Vodafone. It should be completed by end of the current financial year," an anonymous industry source told PTI.

While the official word is yet to be given by both the companies, currently the two telcos have been communicating with National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and seeking its approval. Once that this done they will need the final approval from the Department of Telecom.

As such, Idea Cellular will be conducting a meeting of shareholders and creditors on October 12 in Gandhinagar to seek their approval for the amalgamation of Vodafone India's business. The meeting of equity shareholders secured creditors and unsecured creditors is being held following directions of the NCLT bench at Ahmedabad.

As for the effect of the merger, the combined entity of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which are currently India's number two and three, respectively, would probably upset Bharti Airtel's move to counter the fierce price war in the telecom market.

Meanwhile, Reliance Communications on Sunday did announce the termination of the mobile business merger deal with Aircel due to "Legal and regulatory uncertainties, and various interventions by vested interests" leading to "inordinate delays in receipt of relevant approvals for the proposed transaction."

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