Update: RCOM received approval from its shareholders yesterday for its wireless business merger deal with Aircel. The shareholders of Aircel had also approved the scheme of the merger on April 22nd.  The deal is now pending approval from a special court in Mumbai.

Reliance Communications today received approvals from Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), stock exchanges including BSE and NSE for its proposed wireless business merger deal with Aircel. RCOM added that it is now awaiting approvals from National Company Law Tribunal for mandatory legal clearances. Both RCOM and Aircel had signed a definitive deal in September last year after initially entering into talks in December 2015.

The agreement signed between the shareholders of RCOM, and Malaysia’s Maxis Communications Berhad (shareholders of Aircel) will look to create a merged entity wherein both RCOM and Maxis holds a 50% stake each. The joint venture will have an asset base of over Rs 65,000 crore (~$9.7 billion) and net worth of at least Rs 35,000 crore ($5.2 billion). The merged company will be managed by “an independent professional team under the supervision of the Board”.

Deal was primarily to cut debt

While signing a definitive deal last year, RCOM mentioned that the merger deal will allow it to cut down on outstanding debts. RCOM’s overall debt will reduce by Rs 20,000 crore (~$3 billion) or over 40% of its total debt, and Aircel’s debt will reduce by Rs. 4,000 crore (~$ 600 million), once the deal gets completed. RCOM will, however, continue to own and operate its data centre, optic fibre and related wired telecom units. In addition, the joint venture’s spectrum holding capacity totals to 4448 MHz across the 850, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands

Other RCOM deals

RCOM-MTS merger deal: Last year, shareholders of Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), which owns the MTS brand in India approved the merger of the company with RCOM. The company also received approvals from Rajasthan HC in September last year and from Bombay HC in October the same year, while RCOM’s CEO Gurdeep Singh said during a call with analysts that MTS customers can soon migrate to RCOM 4G.

RCOM-Jio spectrum sharing deal
:  A Mint report in September said that RCOM and Reliance Jio had virtually merged their networks as per statements issued by Anil Ambani. Both companies had entered into a strategic partnership to share spectrum in 800 MHz band across 17 Circles in January.