The Competition Commission of India (CCI) unconditionally approved the merger of the telecommunications businesses of Vodafone India Limited, and its wholly-owned subsidiary Vodafone Mobile Services Limited, with Idea Cellular Limited. The USD 23 billion transaction is the largest transaction by value in the history of Indian M&A.
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co acted for Vodafone India Limited and Vodafone Mobile Services Limited before the CCI. The telecommunications sector in India is witnessing significant consolidation after the entry of Reliance Jio last year. This merger will allow the parties to invest more significantly in improving coverage and capacity in telecom infrastructure, thereby enabling Vodafone-Idea to offer a better, more innovative and attractive range of services to Indian consumers, fuelling the Digital India initiative of the Government.
The CCI carried out a comprehensive review of the transaction and concluded that there was no appreciable adverse effect on competition from the proposed merger and approved the transaction in Phase 1 (i.e. within 30 working days as provided by the Competition Act).
Commenting on this development, Ms. Shweta Shroff Chopra, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. said: “The CCI approval, within Phase 1, is a very welcome development for both the Indian M&A landscape and the telecom sector and will serve to fuel more investment in capacity and coverage across a battling telecom sector in India.”
The SAM & Co team prepared the detailed Form II (long form) notification form and filed the same jointly with Idea’s legal counsel, Trilegal and jointly responded to the CCI’s queries. The SAM & Co team, comprised of Shweta Shroff Chopra, Partner, Yaman Verma, Principal Associate, Aman Singh Sethi, Senior Associate, Toshit Shandilya, Senior Associate, Neetu Ahlawat, Associate and Geet Sawhney, Associate. The Trilegal team comprised of Nisha Kaur Uberoi, Partner, Soumya Hariharan, Counsel, Nandita Sahai, Senior Associate, Gautam Chawla, Senior Associate, Atreyee Sarkar, Associate and Ankita Gulati, Associate.