Videocon picks UBS as advisor for Motorola handsets deal

April 5th, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) Indian consumer electronics giant Videocon has named global financial services firm UBS as its investment banker to strike a deal to acquire Motorola’s mobile handsets unit, the group’s chief has said.
“I have thrown my hat in the ring. And they will say it is a good hat as it is an Indian hat,” Venugopal N. Dhoot, the chairperson and managing director of Videocon, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on trade pacts here.

“UBS are our bankers,” said Dhoot, while declining to divulge financial details. “We have sent our expression of interest to Motorola. In the US, it takes about a year for necessary regulatory approvals to take place.”

Earlier this week, the Mumbai-based consumer appliances and electronics giant had announced plans to acquire Motorola’s loss-making mobile handset unit.

“It may be a serious business for us since we have got mobile phone licences for 22 circles in India. Apart from that, we have our own retail network with about 1,000 shops where we sell mobile phones,” Dhoot said.

Videocon is well positioned for a bid that can be financed from both internal accruals and debt, added Dhoot, also president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

Motorola is world’s third-largest mobile phones maker behind Finland’s Nokia and South Korea’s Samsung, and had had expressed its desire to split its loss-making subsidiary into a separate firm with its own listing on the stock market.

But the Schaumburg, Illinois-based firm did not make any comment so far on any proposal to sell the unit to Videocon.

In 2005, Videocon acquired the picture-tubes business of France’s Thomson for $291 million. It had also made an unsuccessful attempt at South Korea’s Daewoo Electronics in 2006.

India is the world’s fastest growing market for wireless subscribers, adding more than eight million users a month. With some 251 million wireless users it is expected to surpass US as the world’s second-biggest market, led by China.

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