KKR may buy into Airtel-Vodafone tower biz; MT Educare plans ed-tech unit's IPO
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Bharti Airtel and the Vodafone Group are in discussions with a consortium led by private equity firm KKR to sell over half their stakes in the to-be-merged entity of telecom tower firms Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, The Economic Times reported citing people in the know.

The merged entity will be valued at $12-13 billion after Airtel and Vodafone sell their stakes. The transaction will see the two telecom operators hold 13% stake in the new combined entity, the ET report stated, citing a person privy to the development.

Presently, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Group own 42% each in Indus Towers. After the merger, they will own 37.2% and 29.4%, respectively, said the report.

Besides KKR, Airtel and Vodafone will also sell a minority stake to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). The transaction will see KKR own about 25-32% in Bharti Infratel. Vodafone Idea, which owns more than 11% in Indus, will likely exit its investment in the telecom tower at the time of the merger, the ET report stated.

The discussion for the merger of mobile infrastructure firms Indus Towers Ltd and Bharti Infratel Ltd materialised last year in April.

At that time, Airtel Ltd, Idea and Vodafone, as well as PE firm Providence Equity Partners agreed to merge their respective shareholdings in Indus Towers into telecom tower company Bharti Infratel. Estimates put the merged entity’s valuation at Rs 96,500 crore ($14.6 billion) then.

Meanwhile, MT Educare Ltd, the majority-owned by school chain operator of Zee Learn Ltd, part of Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group, is in discussions with merchant bankers and others to initiate the listing process of its online education platform Robomate on the stock exchanges, The Economic Times reported, citing bankers.

One of the Big Four audit firms has valued Robomate at Rs 700 crore, the report added.

The company will use the capital from the initial public offering to grow the Robomate platform, said ET.

ET last month reported that MT Educare has also been in discussions with a number of PE players to raise capital for its Robomate platform.

New Silk Route, Gaja Capital and WestBridge Capital Partners and venture capital firms Lightspeed Venture Partners and Bertelsmann India Investments are some of the investors it has initiated talks with.

The education services firm became a listed entity in April 2012. Besides students from class IX, it offers coaching classes to those appearing for engineering and medical entrance exams, chartered accountancy and business administration.

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