DoT set to approve merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is set to approve the merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which will create the country’s largest mobile operator.

According to Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan, the merger has already received clearances from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and it is in the final stages of approval.

She, however, said there were a number of clearances involved such as the FDI approvals and liberalisation of licences. “We are in the process of expediting it,” Sundararajan said on the sidelines of a Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) event.

After the completion of merger, the combined entity will have the largest subscriber base of over 400 million. Also, it will lead the market with highest revenue share of about 37 per cent followed by Bharti Airtel with a share of about 31.2 per cent.

Last week, the companies have announced a restructuring of leadership team for the merged business that will have Kumar Mangalam Birla at the helm as the non-executive chairman. 

Vodafone insider and current Chief Operating Officer (India) Balesh Sharma has been named chief executive officer (CEO) of the merged entity. As the CEO of the merged entity has been chosen from Vodafone, Idea Cellular executives have got the top finance job as well as that of chief operating officer. Idea's Chief Financial Officer Akshaya Moondra will take charge at the combined business in the same designation. Idea Deputy Managing Director Ambrish Jain will take charge as COO of the new company.

The merger is likely to be completed by June, subject to statutory approvals and the merged entity is projected to be worth over $23 billion.

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