RIL acquires majority stakes in Hathway and DEN Networks (India)

Reliance Industries Li­mi­ted (RIL) has acquired majority stakes in two major broadband providers – DEN Networks, and Hathway Cable and Data­com. It has acquired a 66 per cent stake in DEN Networks through a primary investment of Rs 20.45 billion via a preferential issue and a secondary purchase of Rs 2.45 billion from existing promoters. In Hath­way, it has acquired a 51.3 per cent stake through a primary investment of Rs 29.4 billion via a preferential issue.

Bharti Airtel to refinance debt worth Euro 1 billion

Bharti Airtel has secured full commitment from leading global banks such as Bank of America, Barclays Bank and Citibank to refinance debt of Euro 1 billion maturing in December 2018. The debt was raised in 2013 by its Netherlands-based subsidiary, Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) B.V., in the form of Euro 1,000 notes with a coupon rate of 4 per cent.

Airtel Africa raises $1.25 billion from six global investors ahead of its planned IPO

Six global investors, including Temasek, Warburg Pincus, SoftBank and SingTel, have injected $1.25 billion in Airtel Africa through a primary equity issuance, at a po­st money equity value of $4.4 billion. The proceeds will be used to reduce Airtel Afri­ca’s existing debt of $5 billion and grow its business ahead of its intended initial public offering (IPO). The six companies will make the investment by subscribing to new shares; however, no timeline has been given as yet for the investment.

Tata Sons writes off Rs 286 billion investment in TTSL

Tata group holding company Tata Sons has written off its entire investment of Rs 286.5 billion in its loss-making telecom arm, Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL). Tata Sons is in the process of transferring TTSL’s consumer mobile business to Bharti Airtel and hiving off the enterprise segment to merge with the group’s networking arm Tata Communications.

Bharti Airtel acqui-hires Bengaluru-based AI solutions firm

Bharti Airtel has acqui-hired Bengaluru-based start-up AuthMe ID Services, which specialises in artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. As part of the transaction, Auth­Me’s core team will join Airtel and be a part of Airtel X Labs, a digital innovation lab in Ben­galuru that works on emerging technologies such as AI, internet of things (IoT), augmented reality and virtual reality. According to Airtel, the deal will help in boosting its AI-focused initiatives. As part of the deal, Airtel has also acquired the intellectual property rights of Auth­Me’s two flagship solutions – Callup AI and Fintech OCR.

Comoros secures $10 million to fund ICT projects (Comoros)

The Government of Comoros has been provided a $10 million grant by the World Bank to continue its digital transformation initiatives. The funds will be used to sponsor information and communication technology (ICT) projects for connecting schools, universities, public services and private institutions. Other planned ICT projects that are likely to receive support include e-government applications in collaboration with other countries in the region, the management and use of the national domain name, strengthening cybersecurity of government networks, creating a government cloud, development and installation of digital applications for e-visas, and purchase of bandwidth capacity on regional cables for use by government institutions.

SoftBank selects five investment banks as underwriters for mobile IPO (Japan)

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corporation has selected five investment banks – Nomura Hol­dings, Mizuho Financial Group, Deuts­c­he Bank, SMBC Nikko Securities, and Goldman Sachs – to act as lead underwriters for the upcoming IPO of its mobile phone unit. Earlier, in January 2018, SoftBank had announced plans to list its domestic wireless business to raise about $20 billion. The IPO is planned for December 2018.

KDDI to raise $800 million through sale of bonds (Japan)

KDDI aims to raise around $800 million via a medium- to long-term bond sale. The funds will be used for future network investments, including its 5G roll-out. A portion of the money raised will go towards debt repayment. The operator is in the middle of a three-year JPY 500 billion investment programme, including in areas outside its traditional domestic wireless business.

Liquid Telecom takes full control of its Zambian unit (Zambia)

Fibre infrastructure bu­­­il­­­­der and operator Liquid Telecom has purchased an additional 50 per cent stake in its Zambian subsidiary, CEC Liquid Telecom, from Co­pperbelt Energy Cor­po­ration (CEC). With this, Liquid Tele­com now has 100 per cent ownership of the unit. The acquisition will allow the group to focus on growing its wholesale, enterprise and retail offerings across Zambia. It will also allow Liquid Telecom to reap the benefits of 100 per cent cash flows from CEC Liquid Telecom.