India Digest: Tata’s telecom biz sale; Mercator’s bid for Dredging Corp; Travel Boutique Online stake sale

Tatas have explored talks to sell its telecom business to Reliance, while Mercator is looking to rope in a partner to bid for Dredging Corp. Also, Naspers is planning to exit Travel Boutique Online.

Tatas explore sale talks with Reliance Ind for telecom assets

Tata Group has explored talks with Reliance Industries Ltd to sell its struggling telecom and related assets, according to a Times of India report quoting sources.

“It’s credible to say both Jio and Tata Tele have explored options, but risky to believe it would make progress,” said one of the sources cited in the report.

While the news report said that despite is exploratory talks, Bharti Airtel continues to be the front runner for Tata’s telecom assets, a separate report in The Economic Times said the talks between Bharti and Tatas have been called off.

It was earlier reported that Bharti Enterprises was looking at a mega alliance with the Tata Group’s telecom, overseas cable and enterprise services, and direct-to-home TV businesses.

According to the Economic Times report, Bharti wants to focus on strengthening its own books through strategic stake sale in Bharti Infratel, and on closing its existing M&As including its acquisition of Telenor India.

Mercator in talks with Fairfax, Van Oord to jointly bid for Dredging Corp

Shipping and dredging major Mercator is in initial talks with Canadian investor Fairfax and Dutch company Van Oord to explore the possibility of jointly biding with either firm for public sector undertaking Dredging Corporation of India valued at around $275-million, said a Times of India report.

Mercator is keen to take a financial or strategic investor along with it to bid for the asset,  has held one round of discussions with Van Oord in the Netherlands regarding the partnership, sources said.

While Meractor is talking to both Fairfax and Van Oord, a final decision on the partnership will depend on the result of the discussions around valuation and structuring comfort, said the sources quoted in the report.

Naspers looks to exit B2B travel platform Travel Boutique Online

South African Internet and media major Naspers is scouting for buyers to exit its investment in B2B travel platform Travel Boutique Online (TBO), said a report in The Economic Times quoting sources.

As per the sources cited in the report, Naspers has approached online travel services providers MakeMyTrip and Yatra, as well as financial investors for its stake in the business.

Naspers is seeking a valuation of Rs 300 crore for TBO, whose founders, Ankush Nijhawan and Gaurav Batra, have also offered to buy the stake, said the report.

Naspers owns 52 per cent of TBO’s parent, Tek Travels, through a Mauritius-based unit.

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