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From The Mobile Indian
143 Socio-economic variables for strategic decisions
Norway's Telenor and India's Unitech Group, estranged partners in Unitech Wireless, smoked the peace pipe on Thursday. Real estate major Unitech agreed to sell its 33.75 per cent stake in the telecom company, Unitech Wireless, for an undisclosed amount.
The 18-month battle between the partners witnessed high drama, which included the imprisonment of key promoter Sanjay Chandra who was instrumental in bringing the real estate group into telecom, the 2G spectrum scam, various court cases, arbitration proceedings, cancellation of the company's licence by the Supreme Court, and Telenor setting up a separate company to bid in the coming spectrum auction with a new partner.
In a press statement on Thursday, Unitech said as part of the agreement, "Unitech will retain economic rights associated with its current shareholding in Unitech Wireless", including any refunds the company might get. That includes a possible share of the Rs 1,658 crore the company paid for a pan-India 2G licence (the empowered group of ministers on telecom has agreed to adjust the money with telcos that win spectrum in the auction), some tax refunds due to the transfer of assets to Telenor's new company that would bid for 2G spectrum and any financial gain that might accrue from Telenor's appeal under a bilateral investment pact for compensation on account of licence cancellation.
Telenor, in a press statement, added that with immediate effect, Unitech Ltd nominees would withdraw from the Unitech Wireless board and all special shareholder rights would stand suspended. Subsequent to a successful business transfer and spectrum auction, all disputes and claims between the parties would stand withdrawn.
WAR AND PEACE
• Feb 2008: Unitech Wireless issued pan-India licence to operate mobile services in 22 circles
• Mar 2009: JV formed, Telenor infuses fresh equity of Rs 6,100 cr
• Jan 2011: Uninor announces rights issue of Rs 8,200 cr, Unitech rejects issue
• Apr 2011: Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra gets arrested in 2G case
• May 2011: Unitech invokes arbitration
• Sep 2011: Telenor values company at Rs 400 cr, Unitech values it at Rs 11,000-12,000 cr
• Nov 2011: Chandra gets bail
• Feb 2012: Licence cancelled
• July 2012: Unitech opposes Rs 1,200-cr rights issue proposed by Telenor
• Aug 2012: Unitech decides to auction its assets and business for Rs 4,000 cr as minimum price; Telenor offers Rs 4,190 cr if no bidders come; CLB stays auction; Delhi HC permits Unitech to seek expression of interest from potential bidders