Japan’s DoCoMo makes open offer for Tata’s telecom firm

November 14th, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) Leading Japanese mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo Friday made a Rs.9.49 billion ($194 million) open offer for 20 percent of the outstanding equity of Tata Teleservices Maharashtra, a part of the $62-billion Tata group.The offer opens Jan 8 and closes Jan 27, the company said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange. The Japanese company had Wednesday announced a $2.7-billion deal to acquire 26-percent stake in Tata Teleservices.

The purchase of shares by DoCoMo is subject to required approval from both the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and the Reserve Bank of India, the filing added.

Addressing a press conference here later, Ratan Tata, chairman of the group, said they were forging a long-term relationship with the Japanese company - one that will give customers a wide variety of value-added services.

“We hope to give together, give the public, a much wider range of products and excellent bases of service, not only in the current technologies but also in the technologies yet to come,” he said.

“DoCoMo, along with Tata Teleservices Ltd, has plans to penetrate the Indian telecom market with advanced technology and develop new value-added service offerings,” added Ryuji Yamada, chief executive of the company.

Tata Teleservices Maharashtra is a listed company, in which Tata Teleservices has 37 percent stake. The company’s shares closed nearly 12.25 percent higher at Rs.20.19 on the Mumbai exchange Friday.

“The cooperation between DoCoMo and Tata Teleservices across marketing, handset development and technical support is expected to create new opportunities for both companies,” said Anil Sardana, the managing director of the Indian mobile phone company.

“We will roll out the GSM technology by January 2009,” he said. The company, is at present better known as a player in the CDMA market.

DoCoMo’s move follows a series of high-value deals in India’s mobile space in recent years, triggered off by Britain-based Vodafone acquiring 67-percent stake in Hutch-Essar at an enterprise value of $19.3 billion.

In recent weeks, Norwegian giant Telenor acquired significant stake in Swan Telecom and UAE’s Etisalat bought equity in Unitech Wireless.

They are all eyeing the fast-expanding India’s telecom market that is added 8-10 million subscribers every month. The subscriber base for mobile and fixed-line stood at 353.66 million in September.

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