DoT weighing BSNL-MTNL merger options The Department of Telecom is considering whether to de-list MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited) and merge it into BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) or listing BSNL and then finalizing the merger swap ratio based on the valuation of the two companies, reports the Economic Times. The government is likely to run with the first option, as BSNL has accumulated losses upwards of Rs 30,000 crore which would make it difficult to get a decent valuation for the company on its own. MTNL is also currently facing Rs 14,600 crore in debt, a problem for the DoT since BSNL is unlikely to take on MTNL’s debts post-merger. However, MTNL is currently expecting a Rs 4534 crore refund from DoT for its share of 4G airwaves and is also planning to surrender its CDMA rights in the 800MHz band to further reduce debt. TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar wants DoT M&A guidelines reworked During a recent ‘open house’ discussion with the telecom industry on pricing of airwaves in 1800 Mhz and 900 Mhz bands, TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar was critical of the mergers and acquisitions guidelines laid out by the DoT pointing out they did not facilitate consolidation, reports the Economic Times. While the new M&A rules had raised the cap on the market share of a merged company in a circle from 35% to 50%, they had retained the clause that required buyers to pay market-linked spectrum prices for spectrum that came with any acquisition, increasing the…
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