Telenor attempts to auction off Indian business

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Norwegian incumbent operator Telenor is attempting to auction off its business in India, Uninor, as it seeks to cut ties with its JV partner,Indian real estate firm Unitech in the wake of the 2G licensing scandal.

The operator owns 67 per cent of Uninor, with the remaining stake owned by Unitech. In February this year, the JV lost the 2G licences it won in the country’s 2008 spectrum auction after India’s Supreme Court cancelled the licenses amid allegations of corruption.

Uninor has said it will auction its business and assets to get maximum possible returns for its investors and has invited interested parties to bid by August 6, 2012. However, Unitech is attempting to veto the proposal and warned that it may initiate legal action if Uninor goes ahead with the auction.

“In view of the impending Supreme Court mandated cancellation of license on Sep 7, 2012, Uninor management has decided to conduct an auction of Uninor’s business, including its assets, while the company is still a going concern,” Uninor said in a statement.

“This will allow the company to generate the maximum possible returns for its creditors and also secure the future of Uninor’s customers, employees and business partners in the hands of new ownership,” it added.

Telenor said in a separate statement that despite the circumstances, it is willing to participate in this auction and procure all of Uninor’s business, claiming that this will ensure that the value of Uninor’s business is preserved, and not allowed to be destroyed.

“As regards Unitech’s veto rights, we believe these are automatically forfeited once it is established that the shareholders’ agreement and all rights enshrined in it, was based on fraud. We are willing to establish this in court, should the need arise,” Telenor added.

Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra had been arrested for his alleged involvement in the irregularities and is currently on bail.

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