Private equity sponsors eye pending $1bn Indian deal

The Blackstone Group and The Carlyle Group and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings are reportedly keen to acquire a stake in a new tower management subsidiary of Reliance Communications, one of India’s largest telecommunications operators.

India’s Reliance Communications is reportedly in talks with at least three private equity sponsors and two strategic investors to raise $1 billion from the sale of its stake in wireless tower management company, according to media reports.

The Blackstone Group and The Carlyle Group and Temasek Holdings, Singapore government investment company, are in talks with the listed telecommunications company, according to a Financial Times report.

Gaurav Wahi, a spokesman for Reliance declined to confirm the report but said the company had on 2 November issued a statement to the exchange indicating its intention to “hive off the telecom towers business into a 100 percent subsidiary.”

Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance Communications, said: “This is the first of a series of initiatives we will be taking to remain asset-light, and enhance our competitiveness, ultimately leading to unlocking of further value for the benefit of our nearly 2 million shareholders.”

Anil Ambani, ranked India’s third richest man, plans to launch a global buyout fund of  about $5 billion to invest in telecommunications and related sectors, according to The Economic Times, a local daily.

Ambani is reportedly in talks with Blackstone, Temasek and billionaire speculator George Soros, who became a household name in Asia during the 1997 financial crisis.

The younger of the two Ambani brothers is looking to commit $500 million toward what could become the first global buyout fund from India, which according to the report, will be based in Singapore.