India’s Bharti Airtel plans $2.86b share sale to bolster war chest ahead of 5G launch

Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Indian wireless carrier Bharti Airtel said on Sunday it plans to raise up to 210 billion rupees ($2.86 billion) via a sale of shares to existing shareholders as it builds a war chest to prepare for the launch of 5G services.

Bharti said the shares would be priced at 535 rupees apiece, which is around a 10% discount to Friday’s close of 595.15 rupees.

Bharti founder-chairman Sunil Mittal and others in the founder group will also participate in the share purchase, the company said in a statement.

The company said that shareholders would be eligible to buy one share for every 14 shares they hold in the telecom firm.

India, one of the world’s biggest telecoms markets, has been upended by billionaire tycoon Mukesh Ambani-controlled Jio Infocomm, which launched with free voice and cut-price data in late 2016.

With more than 352 million subscribers, Airtel is India’s second-biggest carrier by users after Jio.

Ambani has forced several rivals out of the market while others such as the local unit of Britain’s Vodafone and India’s Idea merged to withstand Jio’s onslaught.

Ambani has also won the backing of Facebook as well as Qualcomm and Intel for his Jio Platforms digital unit, the parent of his telecoms venture.

Jio has developed its own 5G solution and Ambani has said the carrier will be the first to launch 5G services in India.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.