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‘Idea merger deal will help build stronger asset base, not an exit strategy’: Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao

Responding to whether the Idea merger talks is an exit strategy, Vodafone Group’s CEO Vittorio Colao said during an analyst call that deal aims to build a stronger asset base and that its “not and exit” move. “This (Vodafone-Idea merger) is creating the number one telco in the country, with a…huge spectrum capacity… and the possibility of being the best management team through the combination of the two management team,” he added. Colao explained that the merger deal would look to create “a joint venture with equal rights” which can create a value for both companies and shareholders alike. “It indicates that we are flexible and pragmatic, and like in the Netherlands we do whatever strengthens our assets and has a good return. And we are not dogmatic on which form that has to take country by country,” added Colao during the call. Competition in the Indian telecom market seems to have turned fierce post Reliance Jio’s launch in September last year. Smaller telcos like including Videocon, Telenor are looking for an exit, while bigger operators like Airtel are losing out on revenues and subscribers to free data and voice being offered by Jio. Days after Jio extended its free services, both Airtel and RCOM were speculated to be in talks to acquire Telenor, while Vodafone, the second largest operator confirmed that it’s in talks with Idea for an all-share merger. Vodafone will focus on retaining high-value customers to combat Jio Speaking about Vodafone’s strategy to combat Jio’s free services,…

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