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Unitech Exits Uninor; Settles Dispute With Telenor

Following a fierce legal battle between Telenor and Unitech, the two Joint Venture partners of Uninor, Unitech has finally decided to exit the telecom operator JV selling its 32.75% stake to a new Indian entity set-up by Telenor, reports The Economic Times. According to the report, Unitech has issued a statement  announcing a settlement with Telenor, wherein all disputes have been amicably settled by the two companies and Unitech has agreed to dispose of its shareholding for a nominal amount and withdraw its nominees from the Unitech board.

Earlier, Telenor had decided to auction Uninor’s mobile services business and ancillary operations in various circles, but the Company Law Board had stopped Uninor from the auction, as Unitech had approached the board appealing against the auction notice. However, Uninor had said that it would move to a higher court. With Unitech exiting from the JV and settling all disputes Telenor will now be able to participate in the upcoming 2G auctions with a new partner.

Telenor and Unitech conflict timeline

– Uninor proposes a rights issue of Rs 6,500 crore, which is challenged by its JV partner Unitech in the District Court of Gurgaon. The court puts a stay order.

– Unitech, on 11 October 2011,  initiates a process before the special judicial body Company Law Board (CLB) by filing a petition against Uninor, the Telenor-appointed directors on the Uninor board, Telenor Asia Pte Ltd. and Telenor ASA, alleging that the respondents have oppressed the minority shareholders and mismanaged the business of Uninor.

– Supreme Court of India cancelled 122 2G licences  issued to nine telecom operators including Uninor by the UPA government in January 2008.

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– Telenor accuses Unitech, holding it liable for the breach of warranties related to the cancellation of the licenses. Telenor also holds Unitech responsible for for the failure to obtain spectrum in the strategically critical Delhi circle.

– Meanwhile, Telenor seeks to dump Unitech, seeks compensation and a new partner and transfer all the existing assets of Uninor to its new partner and participate in the upcoming auctions for fresh licenses. Unitech claims that Telenor cannot transfer any assets of Uninor without its consent.

– Telenor threatens to exit India if govt accepts TRAI’s proposals, as reported by The Economic Times.

– The Supreme Court extends the deadline for the auction of 2G licenses which were cancelled by it, from June to 31st August 2012, and has asked telcos whose licenses were cancelled to continue services till 7th September.

– The Department of Telecom (DoT) and Unitech ask the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to make a decision on Uninor’s rights issue only after taking into consideration the pending issues related to the company.

– Uninor’s board members decide to auction its mobile services business and ancillary operations in various circles.

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