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Vodafone IPO is getting close to reality with the Indian subsidiary of the global telecom operator having started the process to list its shares on India stock markets. Investment banks have submitted request of proposals (RFPs) to manage the upcoming IPO, according to CNBC-TV18. The television channel added that and the merchant banks to handle Vodafone IPO will be short-listed shortly but did not disclose where it received the information from. Vodafone is likely to sell 10% of its Indian subsidiary through the USD2 billion (INR13,300 crore) IPO.
“The company had asked merchant bankers to submit proposals for the IPO mandate this week. By next week they are expected to shortlist a set of bankers, who will be invited to pitch for the final IPO mandate,” said Mint business daily in an earlier report indicating that names of designated investment bankers will be made public soon.
However, the company has declined to comment further on its IPO plans. “We have previously said we have started preparations for a potential IPO, which includes private conversations with banks,” Vodafone told the newspaper while adding, “this is a lengthy process and no decision will be made until we are at the end of it.”
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Vodafone has been involved into a lot of legal troubles in recent years including an acrimonious USD2.5 billion tax dispute with the Indian government that dates back to 2007. Despite the tax dispute, India is a strategically important market for Vodafone as the carrier has seen tremendous growth in the country. This is opposite to the flat demand the company is seeing in mature markets including the United Kingdom (UK). Vodafone IPO will provide funds to the second largest telecom operator to further expand in the local market. Vodafone is looking to get its Indian operations valued at nearly USD20 billion.
Bharti Airtel is India’s largest carrier by number of subscribers and commands a market capitalisation of nearly INR140,000 crore (USD21.3 billion). Another competitor Idea Cellular is valued at INR41,316 crore (USD6.2 billion).