Bharti Airtel, Bharti Infratel and private equity firm Varde Partners are among the six companies that have submitted their bids for assets of Reliance Communications (RCom) and its subsidiaries, Reliance Telecommunications and Reliance Infratel, the Economic Times reported on November 13. At Jio’s request, RCom’s committee of creditors extended the deadline for bid submission. Bids will now be open from November 25, according to a Business Standard report. MediaNama has reached out to Airtel for comment.
The National Company Law Tribunal had directed Deloitte, which is the resolution professional (RP) overseeing the affairs of RCom and its two units, to conclude the sale of assets by January 10, 2020.
Why are RCom and other subsidiaries selling assets? Reliance Communications, Reliance Telecommunications and Reliance Infratel are under a Rs 46,000 crore debt and are currently undergoing insolvency proceedings. In August, about 39 financial creditors had claimed about Rs 49,193 crore from the company. RCom has also been fighting legal battles against the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and other operational creditors over its dues. RCom’s total secured debt is around Rs 33,000 crore.
Is Reliance Jio bidding for RCom assets? Jio was among the companies that had submitted an expression of interest earlier this year for the purchase of assets of RCom and its units. However, it now has sought a 10-day extension to submit its bid. Jio had almost acquired RCom’s wireless assets before DoT intervened and cited a lack of clarity over who would assume liabilities related to its bandwidth. The failure of this transaction led RCom to file for bankruptcy. However, RCom had previously sold Jio some of its optic fibre and related assets for Rs 3,000 crore, and media convergence node and related infrastructure for Rs 2,000 crore.
What assets is RCom selling? Apart from its assets in real estate, RCom assets on sale include spectrum holding of 122 MHz which the company had estimated to be Rs 14,000 before insolvency proceedings. The other assets include tower business (Rs 7,000 crore), optical fibre network (Rs 3,000 crore) and data centres (Rs 4,000 crore).
- Reliance Infratel has put spectrum in 14 out of 22 Indian telecom circles and about 43,000 telecom towers for sale.