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Airtel receives SEBI, stock exchange approvals for Telenor merger

Update (June 6th): The merger received approval from the Competition Commission of India on Tuesday, as per the telco's BSE filing. Earlier (June 2nd): Bharti Airtel’s proposed merger deal with Telenor has received approval from market regulator SEBI and stock exchanges BSE and NSE. Airtel has also applied to the Competition Commission of India and  National Company Law Tribunal, a special court looking into business deals, for further approvals. The proposed acquisition will transfer all of Telenor India’s assets, licenses, and customer base of 44 million into Airtel including Telenor’s active operations in 7 circles— Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam. Both companies had entered into discussions in January, and that time an ET Now report pegged the size of the deal at $350 million. Airtel is set to acquire close to 43.4 MHz of additional spectrum in the 1800 MHz band through the acquisition deal. Airtel will additionally take over all outstanding spectrum payments and other operational contracts, including tower leases. Telenor India’s operations and services will continue to operate independently until the completion of the transaction. Note that Telenor India had earlier mentioned that it was evaluating options in India after industry turned competitive. Telenor India also skipped 2016 spectrum auctions stating that the reserve prices did not give “an acceptable level of return.” During Q4 2016, Telenor lost 689,000 subscribers and another 185,000 users in Q3 2016 post launch of Jio. After the entry of Jio, Smaller players in the industry are either looking to merge with rivals or phase out operations completely. Apart from this, the…

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