India's Reliance Jio to buy all wireless assets of Rcom

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As widely expected by the market, Reliance Jio Infocomm, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, was the highest bidder for Reliance Communications' assets comprising 122.4 megahertz of 4G spectrum, over 43,000 towers, 178,000 route kilometers of fiber with a pan-India footprint and 248 media convergence nodes, the two companies said in a release. The transaction is likely to be closed in a phased manner between January and March, 2018.

As expected, Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio is taking over the wireless assets of his brother Anil's Reliance Communications, which is burdened with a massive Rs. 45,000cr-debt.

"An asset monetisation process for RCOM assets was mandated by the lenders of RCOM, who appointed SBI Capital Markets Limited to run the process".

The assets include 122.4 MHz of 4G spectrum in the 800/900/1800/2100 MHz bands, over 43,000 towers, 1,78,000 RKM of fibre with pan India footprint, 248 Media Convergence Nodes, covering almost 5 million square feet used for hosting telecom infrastructure.

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RCom was forced to close its mobile voice business a month back as it was not in a position to support the operational expenses.

The announcement comes just two days after RCom - promoted by Anil Ambani - disclosed a new deal with the lenders under which almost Rs 40,000 crore will be raised through sale of assets, averting an imminent takeover by the 35 local and foreign banks.

RCom said it will use the proceeds of this cash deal exclusively to repay debt to its lenders. The debt will be through prepayment after the asset monetisation and transfer of spectrum liabilities.

RCom also reported it will receive an equity infusion from global strategic partners for further debt reduction, consequent upon a stake sale process already underway, and being conducted by Credit Suisse. Reliance Communications is promoted by Anil Ambani. Even a deal with Brookfield Infrastructure Group for selling its tower assets did not materialise. These includes internet data centres; an enterprise business that offers telecom and IT services; sub-sea cable operations and large real-estate holdings in Mumbai and Delhi. Earlier in October, RCom's merger talks with Aircel collapsed.

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