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Bharti Airtel in talks with Warburg Pincus to raise up to $1.5 billion

Bharti Airtel is holding talks with US private equity firm Warburg Pincus to raise up to $ 1.5 billion by selling as much as 15% of Bharti Airtel International, its holding company for African operations, according to a report by The Economic Times. The two companies are discussing a sale of 10-15% stake for $1.25-1.5 billion, said the ET report quoting two people familiar with the deal. Airtel's Africa unit will reportedly be valued at $8-9 billion for the transaction. The deal will be followed by a listing of the company in the overseas market, the report added. “The proposed transaction is a precursor to its planned listing of the African business in the overseas market in which Bharti Airtel aims to raise a similar amount,” said one of the aforementioned persons to ET. It has to be noted that in December last year, Warburg picked up a 20% stake in Bharti Telemedia Ltd, the Direct-To-Home (DTH) arm of Airtel, for about ₹2,275 crore. In that deal, Bharti Airtel sold 15% of the stake, while another Bharti entity sold the balance. The proceeds of the deal, expected to be completed by December, will be used to pay off some of the company's Rs 95,000-crore debt and to counter the increased competition in the Indian telecom market, the report added. African success to be leveraged for the domestic fight In the recent past, while the previously loss-making African entity of the company turned profitable, its core business in India flipped for the worse. The…

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