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Report: Russia's Sistema offers $1.2B plus debt for RCom assets in India

Russian conglomerate Sistema PJSFC has emerged as the frontrunner to buy Reliance Communications Ltd.'s remaining assets after submitting an offer of $1.2 billion plus debt, India's The Economic Times reported, citing sources familiar with the developments.

Sistema's bid includes the assumption of about $300 million that RCom owes Sistema, bringing the offer's total to $1.5 billion. The assets include RCom's undersea cables, data centers and domestic enterprise telecom business in India.

Sistema is eyeing a full buyout of RCom but may have to do so in parts, one of the sources told The Economic Times.

Earlier reports said five companies, including I Squared Capital and Hong Kong-based PCCW Ltd., have showed interest in acquiring all or part of the RCom assets.

The sale is part of RCom's debt resolution plan unveiled in October 2017, which entails paying off up to 170 billion Indian rupees through asset monetization involving RCom's spectrum, multiconvergence nodes, and tower and fiber assets. RCom shareholders approved the asset monetization plan in February 2018.

In 2017, RCom completed its merger with Sistema-controlled wireless business Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd., which operates in India under the MTS brand.

As of March 23, US$1 was equivalent to 64.97 Indian rupees.