Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Idea Cellular to buy Spice Communications

Idea Cellular, India's fifth-largest mobile operator, said on Wednesday it would buy Spice Group's 40.8 per cent stake in another mobile firm, Spice Communications, at Rs 77.3 per share.

Idea also said it would merge Spice with itself through a share swap where Spice shareholders would get 49 Idea shares for every 100 Spice shares held.

Spice has operations in two out of a total 23 telecom circles and has a customer base of more than 3 million while Idea is present in 11 circles and has a customer base of over 26 million. India, the world's fastest-growing mobile services market and the second-largest market after China, has lured foreign firms like Vodafone Plc which last year bought a controlling stake in the third-largest local cellular firm.

India has 269.30 million wireless users at end-April, up 57 percent from a year earlier, according to the telecoms regulator.