Ambani to Ambani’s rescue! Jio to buy RCom assets, inks pact

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Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom arm of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) has inked a definitive agreement to buy the wireless infrastructure assets of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications and its affiliates in an all-cash deal.

Market circles are pegging the deal size at roughly Rs 24,000 crore, but this could not be confirmed from either Jio or RCom.

Consequent to the agreement, “Jio or its nominees will acquire assets under four categories – towers, optic fibre cable network, spectrum and media convergence nodes (MCNs) from RCom and its affiliates, the telecom unit of RIL said in a media statement Thursday.

These assets, Jio said, “are strategic in nature and expected to contribute significantly to the large-scale rollout of wireless and fibre-to-home services by the company”.

Jio was advised on this transaction by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Global Markets, JM Financial, Davis Polk Wardwell LLP, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Khaitan Co and EY.

RCom, in turn, said, it has signed definitive binding agreements with Jio for sale of its wireless spectrum, tower, fiber and MCN assets.

The Jio deal consideration, RCom said, “comprises primarily of cash payment and includes transfer of deferred spectrum instalments payable to the telecom department (DoT)”.

RCom said Jio had emerged as the highest bidder in a transparent process conducted under the supervision of a high-powered bid evaluation committee, comprising experts from banking , telecom and law.

RCom will use the monetization proceeds of this cash deal solely for prepayment of debt to its lenders. The company, which had been weighed down Rs 45,000 crore of debt and a failed merger with Aircel, had been in the midst of a strategic debt restructuring (SDR) programme. Earlier this week, RCom said it would sell its telecom assets, including spectrum, tower, fibre worth Rs 25,000 crore by March 2018 to prepay lenders and exit the SDR.

RCom shares closed 7.72% higher at Rs 30.96 on BSE on Thursday.

ET had earlier reported that Jio is believed to have put ihn bids worth Rs 18,000 crore for acquiring RCOm’s assets, includihng spectrum, towers, optic fibre and network operating centre.

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