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Bharti Infratel, Indus Towers merger sees delay due to pending approvals

India-based telecom tower infrastructure provider Bharti Infratel Ltd. said Oct. 21 that it will not be able to complete its proposed merger with Indus Towers Ltd. by the Oct. 24 deadline due to the pending government approvals required to close the deal.

The board of Bharti Infratel has now authorized a committee of directors to explore and evaluate possible options to "secure the best interests of the company and its shareholders" and forward its recommendations to the board on or before Oct. 24.

The merger, announced in April 2018, will see the Bharti Airtel Ltd. unit combining its operations with Indus Towers to create a US$14.6 billion telecom infrastructure giant. The combined company will operate more than 160,000 towers in 22 telecom service areas across India.

The transaction, which received approval from the National Company Law Tribunal in June, is waiting to get clearance from India's telecom department, according to The Economic Times (India). The deal will reportedly help cash-strapped Vodafone Idea Ltd., one of the owners of Indus Towers, to raise over 55 billion Indian rupees by divesting its stake in the merged entity.

In a separate Oct. 21 regulatory filing, Bharti Infratel said its CFO, S Balasubramanian, stepped down from his role to explore opportunities outside the company. His resignation is effective Dec. 5.

As of Oct. 21, US$1 was equivalent to 70.89 Indian rupees.