Telecom operator Idea Cellular has denied that it is in "exploratory talks" for a merger with rival Vodafone, in a notification with the stock exchange. CNBC TV18 had reported that the two operators were mulling such a deal and if it were to go through it would create the largest telecom company in the country beating Airtel. However, Idea termed the report as "absolutely untrue and preposterous" in the clarification. The report added that Vodafone's India operations, which is looking to hit the markets with an IPO at a $11 billion valuation, would not need to do so if it merged with Idea Cellular as it is already listed. Idea is valued at $5 billion and the combined entity would have a market capital of around $16 billion. Following the report Idea's stock was up more than 6% to Rs 100 on the exchange at the end of the day's close. EXCL @ideacellular ‘exploring’ options for strategic deal with @VodafoneIN. @PoddarNisha gets you the details. pic.twitter.com/oR06e1ufK7 — CNBC-TV18 News (@CNBCTV18News) August 23, 2016 The telecom sector is witnessing a consolidation in recent times with operators folding their operations. - Reliance Communication (RCOM), which earlier was in talks to merge its wireless business with Aircel, is expected to sign mandatory documents and send it for regularity approval. - Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), which owns the MTS brand in India,approved the merger of the company with RCOM, in April this year. They’re currently awaiting further approval from the Rajasthan and Bombay High Court, after which RCOM…
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